Creeping toward my ninth decade
like a mercenary commando,
I watch my friends fall by the wayside—
victims of myriad diseases—dementia,
alcohol abuse, and black dog depression.
My nails keep growing like the forest
in my nose and ears—but my body shrinks,
and I can’t scamper up hills as fast as before.
All my elderly friends worry more about how
they die than the reality of leaving the scene.
My vision blurs as I recall teaching my old friend
how to drive his newly acquired 47’Studebaker.
I can hear another friend joke about discovering
the perfect diet—the side effects of leukemia.
He claims he’s ready to die since he did everything
he wanted to do—rode down the Colorado rapids
and saw all the birds on the Galapagos Islands.
I don’t care to travel anywhere or see anything—
just want to sit back and listen to Dvorak’s Largo,
played on the English horn, embracing the love of my life
until I can no longer wipe my own ass.