We went steady at your basement party,

Though I did not know or ask what that meant,

But now I can see you look exactly

Like my wife as a child I never met.

Brought up in conformity

I can’t ask why you prophecy

My eleven year infirmity.

One kiss on your cheek on the church hayride

Left some flower scent powder on my lips.

Guess a taste for that must be acquired

Like a taste for beer or cigarettes.

Your fear and my sincerity

Left no question I’m predestined

To a thirteen year infirmity.

My palm like a spoon slips inside the shell

Of a soft boiled egg in the back row dark,

While you were afraid that I wouldn’t call

If you let me go too fast and too far.

Your trust hides the urgency

With which I need you to redeem

My fifteen year infirmity.

When I lifted the hem of your garment

I felt some power take and keep me safe.

You cried when you remembered your boyfriend

And extinguished me when you pulled away.

I count down eternity

Waiting on the kingdom come

for my seventeen year infirmity.

We got wet on the motorcycle ride.

You put my flannel shirt on in my room.

It felt so good at last to get inside.

They said we don’t want you in here alone.

And your love’s uncertainty

Cannot replace the state of grace

of my eighteen year infirmity.

Infirmity, 2009, acrylic on wood, 4”H