when we are eighty years old
and in our rockers

and life’s most urgent necessity
has become the act of locating our teeth

we will understand it all

why? (the pointless arguments)

why? (the petty quarrels)

why? (the sullen silences)

why? (the anguished tears)

and the indignity of old age
with its gradual slide
into gentle oblivion
will be a fitting end

when, finally, we see the entirety of our lives
and realize our knowledge is lost
in the futility of aging limbs
and decaying memory

this is why wisdom is reserved for the old
so that life may go on
heedless and unheeding
and the dying may take solace
knowing they will not pass on alone

* This poem was written on June 20th, 2005.


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