Becoming

The buns are not so much now,
having sprouted green-blue stubble.
The man is just as much now,
having to wear white-grey stubble.

I ate hot dogs one summer,
then passed them that evening.
They were not hot dogs then.
Nothing came can become again.

My face, bronzed once, now bows
to the sun for fear of melanoma
and watches stones no longer
appropriate for me to turn.

I caught salamanders one summer,
then they dried up and died out.
There were still salamanders then,
but nothing came can become again.

My face is long and tired as I am,
so that an old dear would see it
then see it again so she could tell
it really was my face she’d seen.

One summer we spent the nights
charting what others remained.
And we all had to pack up and go then,
and nothing came can become again.

I took jobs in architectural salvage
and in antique stores waiting to be
proven wrong, but business was slow.
I ended up studying ecology for a while.

So I turn to the stream again for current
only to find once water is all water
like the lonely man I’ve been before then,
knowing nothing came can become again.

I’ve grown old, only old. This is what I’m told
when I’ve had too many, not enough
or walk by a mirror before or after either
and see I still wear a just few spare sweaters.

I’ll be buried in one, I’m sure but don’t care.
Yet still I comb my wisps of silver hair,
brush my teeth and walk around some then,
as if what came can become but once again.

I’d turn stones if people wouldn’t see,
bedeck my home in Edwardian wares,
watch the wakes off small family boats
and tell you we are not counting nights tonight.

I’ve stopped counting nights altogether
and was counting backwards all along
as though life would somehow miss me then,
now came has went and cannot become again.