First Drafts: Life Without Youth

I’ve never pictured myself with a young face.
Even when I was a boy and see myself in the

Mirror as I occasionally brushed my teeth and
Washed with my father’s strong yellow soap.

I didn’t see a smooth, feckless innocence’s. No
Porcelain white skin, no straw-colored curls,

No smile only a child can smile. What I saw
Was sun-browned, clusters of dark wrinkles

Shadowing the eyes, bald, $10,000 worth of
The dental equivalent of fake tits in my mouth,

Gray ear and nose hair growing out thick and
Wiry. And always, a beard made of steel wool.

It’s a strange face for a six-year-old to become
Accustomed to. It was the same at fifteen, at

Twenty-six, at thirty-two. At forty-three, it’s now
Just the face I’ve always lived with. It makes

Me wonder if my reflection will grow younger
As I age? Will I start to shrink and re-grow

My hair? Will the tobacco bags and crow’s feet
Beneath my eyes begin to disappear? Will my

Missing teeth sprout through my gums, pushing
Out the crowns? Will I regain all my adolescent

Baby fat? I think it’s possible, so I’m preparing
Myself, getting ready to revert to crawling,

Sub-vocal babbling, and my daughters having
To wipe my ass, or maybe have some faceless

Eastern European nurse do it instead, if they can afford it.


Morning Soundtrack: Curtis By Curtis Mayfield