. Boots Before Us a sequel to "Shear Wickedness" The time had come. Poor Boots was sinking low, and further down no fitting place to know. Our burden was to fix the bottom floor and see our old friend gently out the door. Our goal: to shield him from encroaching pain, despite ours at not seeing him again. He slipped away. The emptiness was more than we had guessed we’d undergo before the sad event occurred. Why was it so? Farewell to Boots was, though we didn’t know, a preview of the coming trip across the great divide that we approach: the loss to children and grandchildren will be keen— so much so that we’re anxious now to screen our minds from thinking of it. No regret have we, two thriving, active seniors; yet we’re struck by Boots’s leave–taking. God knit up all hearts wounded at our own exit. . . At the Exhibition (Poor Antiques Among the Valuable) For poor old folks like us it’s an amusement park. Once past the gate the “rides” are free: the eye may wander Where it will, and nobody is going to bark. But hands are different: merchants sense that you’ve grown fonder Of their wares, once you decide to pick them up, And hover—all the more if it’s a fragile cup. You put it back, perhaps exchange some pleasantries With that same merchant on the item you admired, Or think of something else on which to shoot the breeze. He loves to chat, but fairly glows once you’ve acquired That certain object—by the ordinary means, Not those that sometimes lead to ... well, unpleasant scenes. (For if some agent finds that locket in your pocket ... Though true, none treasures it as you do, and its case, Your case will quite soon find its place on some court’s docket, With more distress after the trial for you to face, Because it seems that everywhere people get pissed If others take their stuff thinking it won’t be missed.) But soon you find your cash gets you only so far. Price stickers differ, yet repeat the same old story: Forget that exquisite Odessan samovar And all the rest of it—in any category. The amusement park does have its downside, sad to say. You leave no poorer than you entered, anyway. . . Julian D. Woodruff, who contributes poetry frequently to the Society of Classical Poets, writes poetry and short fiction for children and adults. He recently finished 2020-2021, a poetry collection. A selection of his work can be read at Parody Poetry, Lighten Up Online, Carmina Magazine, and Reedsy.