Against automatic banjo-trilobites wagging you haunt me;
Were we young once—ever?
I have gallstones older and smarter than the President.
Yet the leather in the backseat of that Buick wafts cleanly
Over the decades, the centuries, the ages.
I taste your sweet breath in my mind’s mouth
Frantic to reassemble the essence of your dust
To rehydrate your pink round thigh which warmed to my touch
(Now irrevocably arthritic)
Hoping God wasn’t looking
(But later—much later—wishing He had been)
Exploring beyond garter tops
My Cutie’s topography.
The memory of a dead fire stirs within me.
I never asked to be old, just like I never asked to be born.
Medicated beyond recognition, corduroy-faced, I idle—
Yet your sweetness looms in my drying brain like a Mexican border station
With the perfume you wore, your glow as we danced to Cato’s Vagabonds—
Why am I mocked with useless remembrance?
You are dead as I soon shall be—dead as the trilobites
Our bones calcifying and melding into shale
That crumbles into small flat stones for small boys to skip across ponds.
Why does my mind embrace the image and form of you
Each time I hear a gurney wheel squeak to a certain rhythm
That reminds me of that expired orchestra in 1927?
I ache to hold your sweet softness and your youth and my youth
And your life and my life in one perfect moment forever.
I have the Nineteen-Twenties like a beloved intestinal parasite.
The Nineteen-Twenties suffuse me, permeate me, take over my functions
Without quite killing me.
Time itself will do that efficiently enough.
The cure, my Sweetie, my Cutie, my Trilobite,
The cure, it seems, is rather worse than the disease.