A Late Smile

by George Bowering

I was born in December, and now I’m in
the December of my life.  Has anyone seen
what next year will be like or whether I’ll
be there at all?  I only know I don’t want to
come to an end of hearing wonderful words like
sawhorse.  I’m tempted here to go to seahorse
and ruin the singular surprise of that wood, to
seesaw, with Marjorie in the sea salt, that
girl with the curly somersault, my grandfather
in Somerset could have taught her.  This silliness
a poet in San Francisco may have taught me
was all right, sawdust work around barns being so
far from ephemeral, which sounds, doesn’t it,
like a medicine you have to earn your way to
by growing old.