“Time is on my side,” the Rolling Stones sang in 1964;
“I’ll always be around.” A mere ten years later,
Mick Jagger changed his tune and crooned:
“Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.”
Until I turned 35, I mused, in hedonistic wonder:
“I’ve been alive all this time–and I’m still young!”
Soon, though, by 40, I’d sundered the trance
of immortality from the fact of death–even for me.
Neither my mother nor my father lived to see
old age, and their own folks lived too long.
Meanwhile, my list of dead friends grows pitiably
ever longer, like an unstoppable, terminal cancer.
When, recently, my little dog had a tumor
removed, I carried her home and gazed all night
at her wound–the red span from chest to womb
stitched up in black thread, like a mended toy.
The knife has carved her out a bit more life. Death
can wait. But I contemplate the final lullaby of fate
which takes us man and beast to sleep, its lyrics
the same through the ages: “Time is up. Too late.”