(all things eventually disappear)

(all things eventually disappear)

Phoebe Kate Foster

when you
(reluctantly)
reach
a certain age,
you wear mortality
like a cross.
not on your back
like the Christ,
but on your head
turning ashy
and sparse,
on your face
now unfamiliar
and (in some lights)
harsh
from the pain of knowing
you’re one of the chosen
due for removal
to an unseen place
at some moment
coming sooner
rather than later.

and you hate
the clock’s tick
and the dirty tricks
time plays on the mind
and the need for
so much sleep
(which seems like
a dress rehearsal
for the final rest) and
(though you know
you shouldn’t)
you take umbrage
at spring’s callously
cruel and arrogant
blooms and profligate
yellow pollen marring
your car’s flawless face
and the yowl of nightly cats
who seem perpetually
and desperately
in heat.

in your bed,
you uneasily lie
(an unappealing heap)
listening to life
go on without you
(though you’re still
very much here),
and consider the reality
(with growing fear)
that judgment has been
imperiously passed
before the trial’s over
and the unfair sentence
irreversibly handed down:
you’ll be doing hard time
for the rest of your years.

Author’s Comment: The inspiration for this piece is three-fold. First, a recent “milestone birthday” where one is likely to receive bouquets of black roses, boxes of Depends and “you’re-over-the-hill” cards. The reality is age doesn’t matter—until you’re conscious of yourself aging, that is. Second, an apropos quote from Jim Bishop: “The future is an opaque mirror. Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outlines of an old and worried face.” And finally, a reassuring article that said the French don’t believe you’re old until you’re at least eighty. That’s my official definition of it now, too.

Bio: Phoebe Kate Foster is an Assistant Editor at The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and a former Associate Books Editor for Pop Matters, an online magazine of global culture. Her poetry and short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, included in numerous anthologies and appeared in over fifty literary journals. After enjoying a nomadic existence for years, she has finally settled down and now calls the Raleigh area her home.

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6 thoughts on “(all things eventually disappear)

  1. Love this, Phoebe! And really love reading the poem with and without the parentheticals and the parentheticals by themselves. Really well crafted!

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