Morning Pills

I'm at the counter, counting pills:
a tablet cut in half to block my betas,
one that gags me for cholesterol,
a yellowish one for pumping protons,
aspirin for something,
pink and leaf-green vitamins.

I swim a mile three times a week.
The youngsters porpoise past me,
just flashing feet and bubbles—bye-bye
old man. I stroke on in dreams of days
when I too left a wake:

a punt I blocked, a pass I caught,
sock hops, leaning lonely on the wall,
lifting weights, "nice pecs" said Coach,
and portages: canoe on my shoulders,
wet rocks at my feet.

I still sprint the last few laps—
take that, young whippersnappers,
you too, eighty years.
I'm swimming on.
I still have trees to plant.

Mother just passed a hundred and one.
She says she's run the race.
She says it's time to go.
But she exercises every day
and still takes all her pills.

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