Please Forgive ME
To My Sons When I Am 91 My sons, please forgive me when in 41 years, at 91,I crouch nude over a plastic commode, and the bald V of my pelvis, and myhairless thighs, frog-white abdomen, andemptied breasts hang there for passers-by to see. Forgive me when I shout at you:"Don't close that curtain!" and when you softly say:"I'm trying to give you privacy, "thinking" No one wants to see that Art Work , Mom, "please understand when I scream: "I don't want it closed! Open it! Pull it all the way to the wall!" And if you understand, then please explain it all to me. When I am 91, please remember me at 50, more quiet than I was or likely will be, at the great pause of my life, at the great moment of renewal, in the new creation, filled with you, my eyes seeing what you have become, my mouth singing what you are. When I am squatting, excreting foul smells, raging at the dimming light, will you remember me at 30, racing on Goleta Beach, that day I still outran you? Will you remember Harry and his son and the Little League field where I ran in four inch heels on Harry's dare around the bases, Lee Jack throwing off his cap, runningfor the deep outfield, screaming "I thought you said your Mom can't hit!" Do you remember our reading, soft and sweet? You leaned against my ribs, smelling babysoft, your hair smooth and fine, spoken words wafting in the air. Do you remember me singing? My father's voice ringing in myhead, I sang old songs to you: Sail, baby, sail, far across the sea. Only don't forget to sail back again to me. I can't escape the smell of 91, can't slam the door on ashes and cremation, can't buy back busy years or your young hands, plump and trusting. But when I'm 91, I'll leave you things, a legacy of sorts: the knowledgeof my weaknesses; our days together; kisses that still feel warm; love like a tent spread overthe years you'll walk without me; songs you'll sing to your children, wiser, more bounding, more free. So please forgive me.