Abel just turned thirty-five
and was called middle-aged
for the first time in his life.
It was like the first chill of autumn
that he felt in September
while the neighborhood kids were still playing
Marco Polo at the community pool.
If he was in the prime of his life,
he doubted the definition of prime.
His job as a welder was hot and tedious,
and his boss was a prepossessing prick.
Abel had had only two relationships,
both fizzling before six weeks,
though he’d had many prostitutes.
He’d watched his dad, also a welder
and a hell of a guy,
non-small-cell lung cancer
surrounded by family.
Without children to take care of him,
and without a wife,
who would look after Abel
when his strength failed,
when his organs failed,
when his mind failed,
when his spirit failed?
As Abel listened to the rushing of
water through the pipes at night,
he faced the fluttering of future calendars
and age spots and alienation
and dementia and disease
and hid under the comforter