At last I am the old survivor
I always wanted to be,
lingering late in my garden,
scraping the ashes from my shoes.
Humpbacked, I walk with a limp.
Half-blind and deaf, I read the lips of the dead.
I can say hello in nine languages
and good-bye in twenty more.
Old friends are used to what I say.
All winter, I have nothing to do
but set hopeless traps for wolves.
My wife knits mittens
for the village children.
Crows come and go
in the cottonwoods by the river.
The hour hand is missing from our clock.
Sometimes the minute hand goes wild,
sweeping time before it
so fast the clock dances on the table.
My wife and I dance with it,
around and around
all night until the sun
spills through the windows
and lifts us off our feet
and carries us away like a flood.