Is this it, this right eye I keep wiping at,
my old age dripping into one damp dot
and rearranging half my world to boot,
making it wriggle and squirm?
Yesterday’s gardening muscles ache;
old shooting-injured ears – with a shovelful of age –
make every conversation
a radio turned down low.
But suddenly I hear the growling
that goes on behind each clock;
mornings stalk, jaws of hours,
teeth of minutes.
It’s like wanting to go jogging, write two letters,
pay a bill, eat lunch and make love to your wife
and you’ve got just ten minutes
and then it’s off to work.
It’s all suddenly so close, this toppling backwards
into coffins, this kneading your body
to your grave, worrying about your kid,
who’ll still be here to love him?
Nothing solves, not grog, that’s stopped,
nothing excites the nodding afternoons; nothing cures,
not a doctor’s soft hands touching,
him blinking helpless behind his glasses,
not the stack of books that sits to read,
not the calendars that tip-truck work into your day,
not the post box stuffed with mail, with letters
from people who will die.