After 50 years of looking at each other
they knew what lumps or bumps were old or new,
checking rashes, swellings, blotches and bruises,
monitoring changes in the body, like chimpanzees
at the zoo, who search for nits on one another.
After Yoga stretches in the morning
they only need to grunt or grimace
to signal yes or no about plans for the day.
When to nap or duffle off to a Costco sale
of Black Tiger Shrimp for him and
a pot of blooming Cyclamen for her.
Years together have honed communication
far better than Marconi's old invention.
Attached like tongue-in-groove fine cherry wood,
a sublime duet harmoniusly attuned,
she purrs like a Siamese when he rubs her feet,
she relieves his sciatica better than a chiropractor.
She cooks meals good for his health,
he surprises her with Haiku poems
and Nippon dolls for her collection.
They visit doctors more and more,
take notes on the color of pills,
advise on how to cope with aching bones,
swollen feet, failing sight and stumbling gait.
Offspring listen for the Emergency Alert:
Who has fallen and can't get up?
Wh'll take mom for her cataracts?
When should dad give up his caddy?
Do they have a will and D.N.R.?
As their bodies wind down
like an eight day clock'
they each have only one wish:
To be the first to resonate
with the ineffable journey ahead.
Milton P. Ehrlich