Almost Gone

Happy Birthday indeed.

Old men like me

are the last leaves

clinging to the tree.

One waft of God’s breath

and we’re gone.

After that? Who knows?

I hope there’s plenty booze

and fine young women.

 

You were almost gone yourself

that Sunday by the pond

when I glanced up from my paper

to see a floating bag of Wonder Bread

and no trace of you

or the mallards who had fled.

Frantically searching

the reedy shallows,

I made out in the murk

your frightened eyes,

your flailing arms

attempting to claw their way

back to the balmy summer day.

 

On the shore

I pushed and pulled until

a tiny pool of brackish water

formed at your lips.

Then gathering you in my arms,

I whirled you round and round,

trees and pond and sky

spinning like the first creation.

 

Let’s cut the cake now.

The first piece is yours.

Mind you, don’t go

and feed it to the ducks.

 

(Originally published in Blue Hour)

 

ducks

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