Saturday, April 12, 2008

untitled

I saw you, old man with your billowy, white beard
hiding the years your body has engraved
as its own personal history
and, though your years are few
compared to the life of the Earth,
you know you are old and you've almost lived too long

Your white, wiry, cotton beard is full of secrets
and I wondered (never guessed!) what they were
while children, hands impatiently holding their mothers',
ask quiety if maybe you are Santa Claus
because children have no knowledge
of the sorts of secrets you may keep
they only know the popsicle and juice
sticky lip to ear playground secrets

Old man, maybe that beard that you never trim,
but comb daily, is your one last material comfort
you have no prized possessions.
But your Kris Kringle beard with no lips, telling no tales,
will be there on your chin, resting on the shirt
hiding your rumbly, rattly old man's chest.
It will be there even after the end to keep you warm
and maybe it will keep on growing,
like your fingernails and toenails.
And when your family has left you behind
as a dusty photo in a dusty book in a box,
you will always have your beard
and it will remember everything
and it will tell no one

by Jennifer Haliewicz


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