‘I’m aiming for ninety-five’ (a poem)

Why am I thinking about this first thing in the morning?

That must explain
the mountain of needles
that oddly translucent
motionless chameleon
in the bathroom sink

Whatever it is
it gives me both hope and despair
for the future

Medical researchers love to issue reports
to explain how some food, drink, or personal habit
will take years off one’s life

I recently heard someone say
‘don’t live past eighty—it’s not worth it’

My mom occasionally likes to tell me
about the things that happen as you age
the way things droop, sag, or shrink

and how the skin seems to separate
from the body
while the skeleton re-asserts its form
in dramatic fashion

I can’t help thinking
about all the things we do
to maintain our failing bodies
as the end draws near

If we had to sink that much cash
into our old cars
someone would be telling us
‘you really ought to get rid of that thing already—
that bald tire in the trunk is probably worth more
than the rest of the car, don’t you think?’

Those years all come off at the end, don’t they?

(8 May 2018)