Retired

 

On the island where I was a child
nearly everyone was retired, their fortunes

already made. Death was around them
the way water was around our streets.

They taught me how to go fishing
without catching fish; the tide’s breath

was marked in notebooks they kept
beneath their pillows. One old lady

fed me chocolates from a tin
until my teeth were stained by greed.

The old do things slowly so I grew used
to grocery store lines

that did not move, cars that stopped
in the middle of the road. One man spent

a whole day helping me bury a squirrel;
we wrote odes and dirges

to the way it once hurried and planned.

 

 

Faith Shearin

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