Barbara Crooker

I don’t want a younger man with a buff body,
a stomach like the washboard my mother
used for laundry after the war.  I don’t want
to see his hip bones through his taut skin,
the sine curve of his buttocks, the way he doesn’t
yet know that sorrow’s going to find him.  I want
a man with a gut like a chair cushion, something
around the middle to hold on to, sparse silver
hairs springing out of his chest and groin.  Under
the chin, ridges and hills slope down to the sea.
My body, too, loosens, sags, the skin letting go,
hair sprouting where I don’t want it, but not
where I do.  There’s sludge in my blood,
crumble in my bones.  But under the covers,
in the dark, I can edit him back to the boy
he was, the one I never knew.  Our sheets are
flannel, worn thin by erosion.  Some nights
we can.  Some nights we can’t.  Let’s praise
what’s still working.  This is every body’s story.