Sighs of a Senior Cit

Of late each morning in the shower
I wonder, will this be the hour
When I discover in my groin
About where leg and hipbone join
The lethal lump?

And ditto when I take a shit
I can't help thinking, is this it,
My turn to notice in the bowl
With consternation of the soul
Doom's crimson dump?

To me it's quite uncanny that
We can be planning mergers at
Midday and then--thanks to some wart
That splits like stock--by sundown start
Like stocks to slump.

It helps, true, some, that Socrates
Says since we can't know death won't please
Us, there's no cause to fear it. Still,
The least twinge in the liver will
Make my heart thump.

Speaking of hearts, it may, too, be
I'll cheat the doctor of a fee
By croaking of a coronary
Because at meals I've made too merry
And have got plump.

Or if I can't blame my demise
On one too many pizza pies
My habit of abusing beer
Is just as apt to make me hear
The loud last trump.

Hell, I can't even rule out luck:
I could be flattened by a truck
Or rub wrong some fell murderer
Or--like as not--fall and incur
A mortal bump.

Whether we're African or Norse,
Whether we're frisky as a horse
Today, tonight some pneumococcus
Can still come sneaking and coldcock us.
Every chump

Knows that. One way in, many out.
You say you can't endure the doubt?
In that case we can march--hup, two,
Three, four--at any time up to
The roof and jump.

The one thing certain in all this
Is that there's not a chance I'll miss
My exit. Soon enough I'll know
How fate's arranged for me to go
Over the hump.

by Stephen Baily

Stephen Baily has poems in the summer and fall 2007 issues of His verse play Blood Oranges had a staged public reading in May 2007 at the National Comedy Theatre in Manhattan. His play Confessions of a Chat Room Romeo will be broadcast nationally in August by the Shoestring Radio Theatre in San Francisco.

Table Of Contents    Next Poem    Guidelines