Long distance, my mother & I discuss

my father’s withered state.  I tell her,

who knows why he has given up—


seventy years old, blue terry cloth

robe all day, draped around

once square, now droopy

black shoulders, inhaling Marlboros,

sipping vodka & Tropicana for breakfast,

dismissing diabetes & blood

transfusions as a book of myth,

& outside under a faded patio umbrella,

Los Angeles Times crossword

puzzles keep the brain awake

though evening falls face down—


Somehow he settled

unquiet routine—


My “self-actualized”

middle-aged voice continues

telling her: all I know is you can’t fix it


really, what is there to fix

his “retired” life turned to mulch

like red plums rotting in the yard

after summer, unattended.

Leave a Reply