Slumped in a window seat, like a cardboard
facsimile of myself, where sunlight brightens
my wrinkled hands, I can’t hide the fact
of being old. It’s been a tiresome life
during which I sang songs inwardly,
thinking I was where I belonged, dug deep
and felt less.

My stomach crawls with weariness,
and a surprise of hope would catch me
unprepared for its glitter. How unhappy,
and more foolish than cigarettes,
to want a return to youth, the flesh
unsoiled, the heart free of denials.

I suck in my abdomen as I sit here,
feel a slight ache in my chest like
a knife with a dull edge. Out
the window a runner, straight
as a javelin slices through silent
morning, and I think how marvelous
that he can appear to out run death’s,
overwhelming finality, the Achilles heal.
If possible, I would be his partner
in that enviable youth, run beside him
at an exclusive distance from demise,
but he has passed the window
and an undercurrent of disillusionment
rises in me, old merely shoved back
for a few seconds until I can feel
that it absolutely isn’t there.

Nikolas Macioci earned a PhD from The Ohio State University. The Ohio Council of Teachers of English, named Nik Macioci the best secondary English teacher in the state of Ohio. Nik is the author of two chapbooks as well as nine books: His first book was submitted for the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.