A Series of Subtractions

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Photo credit: Caroline Tinger Moore

A Series of Subtractions

 

 

 

If you make the mistake of living too long,

old age can seem like as a series of subtractions.

 

The trees are in their autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry.

 

That romping pup you chose a flashbulb pop ago,

today, a husk headed to the vet to be put down.

 

Like the one before that and the one before that.

Jack, Sally, Bessie, Saisy, Ruskin, Milo,

 

Completing their abbreviated seven stages

right before your clear . . .  fogging . . . rheumy eyes.

 

The trees are in their autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry.

 

And the musicians and authors you’ve loved

seem to be dropping like dragonflies.

 

Foster Wallace, Zevon, Petty,

Toni Morrison, Prince, Winehouse, Reed,

 

Kaput, no longer cranking them out,

Deaf to the doo-da-doo-a-doohs of the colored girls.

 

And who in the hell are these movie stars

in the paper celebrating birthdays today?

 

The trees are in their autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry.

 

Quit your whining, boomer, time’s a-wasting,

beneath a mountain of books you haven’t read.

 

No use crying over spilt water bowls,

inevitability.

 

The trees are in their autumn beauty,

The woodland paths are dry.

 

3 thoughts on “A Series of Subtractions

  1. Wow. Great photo. It looks like it was worth the hike. The other day I learned a new word that seems relatively on topic here. It’s “subtrahend” and it is a number subtracted from another to make the difference. I just found it interesting that in all the math I’ve had to take, I’ve never come across this word. Nice poem, btw — especially the end.

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