All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

— Billy Shakes, AS YOU LIKE IT

i. The infant
How I wish I knew them then,
those young parents, who gave up
sleep and so much else just for me. 

ii. The boy
Alone in books and imagination,
the omnipotent master of Fisher-Price kingdoms,
countin’ ’em down with Casey Kasem.

iii. The teen
A never-ending stream of talking,
at contests, finally with friends, on stages —
the plotline of life drawn here in eraseable pen.

iv. The young adult

v. The adulting adult
Suddenly, we two are one, together
on the roller coaster,
eyes opened and closed, frightened with glee.

vi. The widower
In grief, in yoga, finding balance,
finding peace, sweating through,
but always building core strength.

vii. The present
Loved and loving back, and grateful,
working for words and forward,
hoping Billy undercounted.