I want to grow old with you.
So old we pad through the supermarket
using the shopping cart as a cane that steadies us.
I’ll wait at register two in my green sweater
with threadbare elbows, smiling
because you’ve forgotten the bag of day-old pastries.
The cashier will tell me a joke about barbers as I wait.
He repeats the first line three times
but the only word I understand is barber.
Over the years we’ve caught inklings
of our shrinking frames and hunched spines.
You’re a little confused
looking for me at the wrong register with a bag
of almost-stale croissants clenched in your hand.
The first time I held your hand it felt enormous in my own.
Sasquatch, I teased you, a million years ago.
Over here, I yell, but not in a mad way.
You have a bright yellow pin on your coat that says, Shalom!
Senior Discount, you say.
But the cashier already knows us.
We’re everyone’s favorite customers.
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I love the hour before takeoff, that stretch of no time, no home but the gray vinyl seats linked like unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall be summoned to the gate, soon enough there’ll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers and perforated stubs—but for now I can look at these ragtag nuclear families with their cooing and bickering or the heeled bachelorette trying to ignore a baby’s wail and the baby’s exhausted mother waiting to be called up early while the athlete, one monstrous hand asleep on his duffel bag, listens, perched like a seal trained for the plunge. Even the lone executive who has wandered this far into summer with his lasered itinerary, briefcase knocking his knees—even he has worked for the pleasure of bearing no more than a scrap of himself into this hall. He’ll dine out, she’ll sleep late, they’ll let the sun burn them happy all morning —a little hope, a little whimsy before the loudspeaker blurts and we leap up to become Flight 828, now boarding at Gate 17.
The railroad track is miles away, And the day is loud with voices speaking, Yet there isn't a train goes by all day But I hear its whistle shrieking. All night there isn't a train goes by, Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, But I see its cinders red on the sky, And hear its engine steaming. My heart is warm with friends I make, And better friends I'll not be knowing; Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, No matter where it's going.