Empty Nest

Success is a candlelit dinner
with a graying wife—how many meals
have kept us alive? How many years
have we not died?
It’s been twenty, and gratification is still loving her
like a jewelry ad that says
“she’ll always be your girl.”

I see our future like a soft rock ballad
from the ’80s, where couples sway gently
to a saxophone under chandeliers.
What will we do when the struggle is over,
when the kids are gone and the dog has died?
Clocks move slower when you finally have time
to watch them.
I waited so long for a slow song with you,
and it comes now that we realize
the ’80s were never our future;

so you put on the dress and the music plays
and the fireplace glows and we clink our glasses
together for the last dance that sends our ghosts out
to struggle once more.

– North Hollywood, CA


Taken in Long Beach, CA

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