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by Aaron Roy Even

The Blue Moon Review


Old Men
by Melissa Ahart

I am plagued by old men
who wither all around,
rubbing the blush
off the young
as one rubs the sheen
from ruddy apples
before taking a bite.

Your toothless stories mean
nothing to me, old men—
your airplanes, ships, and wars,
your barroom courtships with pretty
young women who became your wives,
your boyhood games of baseball
when you would hit home runs
every inning—
I have enough problems.

You cough rainbow spittle
from blackened lungs
onto dirty sidewalks in front of me.
Your wheezes keep me awake,
and the faint beatings of your hearts.

Why must I care for you?
Why must you be comforted?
I do not know you,
only the twisted ropes of your throats.
You are nothing to me but need.

You are not mine.
Mine is waiting in a dusty room
by a silent piano.

But your gazes are the same—
yellowed eyeballs rolling in their sockets
like a startled horse.

How can I stop your own deaths
from startling you?

Melissa Ahart is a web associate at The Academy of American Poets and webmaster for Poets Out Loud at Fordham University. Her work has appeared in 2River View, Conspire, Eleven Bulls, The Gallatin Review, and The Minetta Review. She lives in Brooklyn with her blue piano.

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