In Memoriam

Dear friends, beloved family,
Unknown refreshment-moochers, we
Are gathered here to honor they
Who from our heads have passed away
As we stood, trembling, in the shower,
Helpless in the path of power
Far beyond our comprehending.
Folliclump, thy life is ending
Far too soon, and what a life!
We tore at you in times of strife,
We stroked you with the hands of love,
And when bird bottoms high above
Unburdened were of what they’d swallowed,
You absorbed the splat that followed.
Mornings after, you excused
Those for-the-roads we’d not refused
And sheltered us from public scorn
With “bad hair days.” Though you were shorn
With regularity, and dyed,
The thousand bands with which we tied
You back today will mourn their loss:
The shoelaces; the dental floss;
The ribbon from a Christmas present;
Meat-soaked string from one unpleasant
Meal with a forgotten date
Who, up to then, was always late,
For whom we’d promised we’d prepare
A home-cooked dish, then they were there
An hour early, looking fine,
While we tied greasy locks with twine
And tried to act as if our clocks
Were all the ones at fault; and socks.
Companion on our aimless roaming,
Object of last-minute combing,
Brushing, fluffing, mom-spit pasting,
Tugging, teasing, tousling, tasting,
Braiding, curling, this is it:
Today, not just your ends have split,
So, too, you from our dermal field did
Pull your roots until it yielded.
Someday, should we meet again
In heaven’s hair salon, you’ll spin
A pony-tale to help explain
Just why today you chose the drain
Beneath our feet above the dome
That we were proud to call your home.
We can’t deny we feel the pull
That summoned thee, dear follicle,
But ’til the day we’re unenstalled
From life’s poor porcelain tub, we bald
And balding mortals wish thee luck
And fortune.

The drain’s still stuck.


Everything Must Go

No one I know did not come home from war.
The first not forced to fight in Vietnam,
We got to choose what we were fighting for;
The draft had crashed and burned before our prom.
I’ve lost some classmates from Annapolis
But none whom I would know by more than name.
Two warless decades surely helped with this;
My children’s peers, perhaps, can’t say the same.
I’ve friends who went to war. They all returned,
But most of those to whom I’m close I met
After their younger selves had gone and learned
What steel does from the stone on which it’s whet.
This holiday we honor those who fell.
How many walk among us? Who can tell?

Really Big Shoe

I had a pair of giant shoes–
I’ve massive feet, so that’s not news–
But here’s how come I brought it up:
One’s gone! My giant, quiet pup
Has wandered like a laundered sock!
The one remaining’s still in shock
And who can blame it? Who would dare
Begrudge a lone, lost loafer’s pair
A morning mourning for the sole
Of he (or she) who’d make it whole?
I wouldn’t; nor, I think, would you.
Unless, of course, it stepped in poo.
It did? Eww! Screw my giant shoe.

Hard Cider

The apple tree predated me
And almost everyone I know
And I knew, academically,
That one day it would choose to go.

And so this week it came to pass:
The shadow that it cast has gone.
The apple tree sleeps on the grass
And there’s a hollow in my lawn.

Writing Through Good-bye

 packin G
 s Oon
 t O
 an D
 laughe D–oh,
 h Owie
 lau Ghed!
 a S
 pl Y
 shepher D‘s
 i N
 som E
 da Y
 an Other
 t O
 har D:
 t O
 lo Se
 b Y
 fi Nal
 pag E.
 da Y
 do Gwood–and
 d Own
 un Der
 sha Dow