Walking on grains of powdered seafood
among the beautiful dead,
touching and separating, tides of body,
ohases of coupling.
Fluttering clothers, sun-bent,
not yet broken.
Give it twenty years.
"Let's break here, shall we?
Let's die doing this,
picking shells and applying lotion
and smiling through squints."
Happy dumb scavengers,
back and forth among the mammal-line
catching the morning show
of birds and sea-crusts.
There's a porpoise. Almost a mammal.
Maybe my final role model.
"You talk about getting old a lot."
"Yes, I do. It's my biggest fear,
body running amok,
the quiet tantrum to live for something.
Nightmare of physical weakness.
Slide shows of my children
who will never be.
My head on the memory-films of grandparents,
ugly fruitless plants
hauled and repotted by strangers,
no decision left
but whether to press the wheelchair alarm."
sweating in your obsession-kitchen,
tending the hot stove of reality."
Illusion of control,
Reality of powerlessness.