What to Do About the Old Man’s Loneliness
Once there was a houseful of noisy girls,
their squabbling and hair-washing,
stumbling cockeyed up the stairs at night.
They’d catch him standing at the top,
one hand holding up his pajamas,
the other waving the alarm clock,
incontrovertible evidence of their crime.
Do you have any idea what time it is,
he’d ask rhetorically. And they’d stifle giggles
behind each other’s backs.
Now they’re scattered to other countries
busy with their jobs and children,
their unhappiness. If time was money
he’d be on the pig’s back these days
for sure. The noisy relations all gone too
with their cups of tea, the organ recital
of their ailments and afflictions.
Only this enveloping silence, so still
he might not see the wing of a crow
from one day’s end to the next.
November and the color all sucked out
as if a drain had opened underground.
Except that out there somewhere
Death is putting on his shoes to take a walk
in this direction. He’s in no hurry,
has all the time in the world.