The Hilltop Home for Men collects old men,
like my freckle face grandson collects marbles
in a burlap sack, butterflies in a jar.
There they congregate in tiny rooms waiting
as patiently as hamsters for their turn to
come around at the wheel.
Their days are spent gazing longingly out of
picture windows, staring at a world whizzing by,
one that continues to revolve without them.
On a sunny day you might find them settling
old bones at weathered picnic tables where
they serve up past lovers or stories of war,
reiterating to each other how it was back then.
Rehashing all the could haves and should haves
and that devil of all clichés, If only I could live
my life over again…
Night begins the death watch and sleep eludes
them as they smoke the day’s last cigarette,
groan and strain for compatibility with sunken beds.
Hours are spent staring at walls, bare but for a big
numbered clock, which beats to the tune of their
failing hearts, their rattling worn and rusty pipes,
as partners in time they wait for that final tick-tock.