Northwords Now Issue 37

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Age, doing its best to wither

by Grahaeme Barrisford Young

After twenty years
         if my fingers have forgotten,
why do my dreams recall the texture of flesh,
and cotton underwear, often sexier than lace
(which tries too hard)
or silk, which loses out to thighs?

Memory tricking me, or synesthesia.

        I think, aging alone,
no one will ever complain about stubble,
demand I bathe after a compost day,
no naked breast ever kiss my lips.
Fears that have lessened as years mellow,
pills absolved, still unwelcome.

I remember you, in your virgin study, pontificating
that evolution must bring a welcome lessening of lust.
So sad, even then, your not knowing
that even if you make it to your million years
some animal lusts will bring their own reward.

Surely, you said, if you were immortal,
fleshly things would be first to go?

Being young and bursting, I disagreed,
but changed my mind after another futile chase,

settled to thinking ‘might’ in my single bed.
Now, in later years, and out of any hunt,

fond memory suggests a millions years on
my rhyme will not be ‘don’t’ but ‘can’t’.

Afterwards, as you cupped her breast,
did you wonder why you adored a cone of flesh?

At breakfast, as you rose to welcome her
in silk, you would have remembered.