So Far, So Good

One friend fears his father’s Alzheimer fate,
another prepares herself for the end
while her husband tries not to cry or state
she can’t leave, but for her sake he pretends

he’s as cheerful as she, as impatient
for her trouble and pain to fly away:
a Monarch escaping piles of excrement,
into the sky’s bright blue, heavenly day.

That first friend’s still sharp as a Bowie blade,
but worries he’ll start forgetting everything,
though he quotes more poems than sand in a spade,
and can tell every batter by his swing.

Me?  I try to ignore my aching bones,
that like rusty hinges creak, whine, and moan.


Shattering the Chair

During breaks, Walt sits by the candy jar,
his fingers a backhoe scooping out sweets,
while he regales us with how dumb we are
to vote for Democrats, “Who all just bleat

“And never take responsibility,
cowards all.”  This, from a man who must weigh
over four hundred pounds, who never could see
a snack without snatching it with a bray

of triumph.  But now, when he shifts his weight,
his chair shatters as if hit by a bomb.
Walt crashes down; when his terror abates,
confesses, “I can’t get up,” with alarm.

He’s red-faced, ashamed that he needs our aid;
four of us haul him up, while he gasps, afraid.


The Fiercest

Even you, our most alive, fall and break,
and after that breaking you’re swept away.
But before you go, what beauty you make
for those of us who recall you and stay

behind, for our less vivid share of years,
and think of you with only love and joy,
nor allow ourselves to melt into tears
that rust sweet memory’s precious alloy.

For how much poorer, drabber we’d become
without remembering the fires in our hearts
your passion lit; your life a wild-beating drum
whose rhythm we followed in fits and starts.

But dear Liz, you’re free, at last, of pain,
while we ache, never to see you again.


Robert Cooperman is a poet living in Denver, Colorado.

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