On Turning Fifty

                    for Larry Apple on his birthday

It is not the spirit now, but the arch
of each foot that must be buttressed; to lift
is no shame to the lifter; neither church
nor state can refuse the determined drift
back toward the earth. Yet not with the lurch
of the frightened driver learning to shift
for the first time, death-grip on the clutch
as he gropes from forty into fifty.

But gently now, the way a sheet is spread
fresh from the line above the unmade bed
falling so slowly it hovers midspace
and seems angels lie round a picnic cloth.
The harried driver thinks such case is sloth;
the sated angels know it’s only grace.

— Steve Kronen

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