You ever had a good place to lie,

Where the ache wouldn’t send you up again

To pace the sagging, creaking boards

Of the floor at night?

This is where old age must begin--

With wounds that you’d forget or ignore,

Except for the festering,

And the skin that cracks afresh every morning.

You deny being as ancient as I,

But your face, stiff as old pie, winces

At the hubbub of kids and dogs

Around my table,

And you’ve not answered the question.

We’ve both had good places to ride,

Stretched out upon sheets,

Like boys in an open boxcar,

Going somewhere-- not home,

Looking for perfect breasts, you’d say,

Each of us in our own way,

New Orleans in our twenties,

Venice in our thirties,

Westchester in our forties:

Their names alone invoke the change

The search has put us through.

And lo-- you’re gone again,

A girl from Galveston appeared,

To drive you back, to install you,

In a house she owned on the beach,

So you can fish and write another book.

(And start again another daydream in my head

About what life could be like--)

But yours is not my life,

And her breasts were hardly perfect.

So now there’s no one left,

The drunks, the dopers and the midnight madmen

Have retired.

And my hopes for you have gone as well.

I invited:

Thinking of better times-- with too much wine,

And talking until dawn,

But you begged fatigue,

Saying any bed was fine,

--I guess that was my answer.