family tree, year’s end

By | 15 May 2023

from pele to the pope, and this year’s end
continues in the chain of closing loops,
squaring the circles, _____ has left the group,
conclusions tend to be where novels trend.

unheralded as past-year policy
my last exceptions now grandfathered out
and i look upwards through my family tree
to find only my parents shading me
from the deep blue air phil larkin wrote about

one’s seventy next – what confucius called
the age of doing whatever the fuck you want
within the bounds of reason (and one can’t
expect the poor dead sage to get it all
correct in one sagacious fusillade)
— suffice to say this makes for spurious shade.

yet my own branch demands a reckoning:
forty, the age of no doubt (hey, don’t speak),
the tenuous boundary of my waist, which like
a trunk, each year grows yet another ring,
a thing of beaut … too much of a good thing,
my wife consigned to her tree-hugger’s fate
(oh lord, i probably can wear thirty-eight.)

and here i break to find a second wind,
which rustles through my well-whorled fingertips
reminding me my non-child-bearing hips
were not the ones that bore this budding grin;
bearing or boring him — his leaflet lips
and twiggy toes offshoot — overcomes me.
so looking down beneath the canopy
somewhere my end is where his world begins

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