328: A Joke about How Old We've Become

328: A Joke about How Old We've Become

328: A Joke about How Old We've Become

A Joke about How Old We've Become
by Adam Clay

Read the automated transcript.

I take a break from the morning’s work
to pay a credit card bill,
to take the dog out, to water

the plants in the hanging baskets,
but why not instead take a walk
through the early August morning

before the heat wave hits? The body’s
still stretching itself out. The music goes
from minor to major when you flip

the album, but sometimes
the minor starts over before you cross
the room, and sometimes it’s best

to just listen, best to not fill
any space with words.
The stars and the stripes catch

the eye more so than the blank space,
like a life to be filled up with
something bigger than breath. My dad

last night on the phone told me
the tests came back positive
but not to worry, but how

not to worry with his almost three decades
ahead of me, and what is a year
really when they pile up, time to dust

the furniture again, to check
on the slow-draining sink,
clean it out, start the day with a list

of what a day should even mean
or be, not minding how fast the hours go by
until eventually I will, which by then it will

be too late, though I do not mean
my life means anything in the scheme
of stepping back we all do, chipping

at some unmovable block of rock,
as if time won’t eventually
undo even its looming shape too.

"A Joke about How Old We've Become," by Adam Clay, from the forthcoming TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE SEA by Adam Clay, copyright © 2020 Milkweed Editions. Used by permission of Milkweed Editions.