the cover
of the AARP magazine.

Raise your hands if you
belted out his lyrics with
crackling community pool speakers
or behind your bedroom door,
your hairbrush turning microphone.

In my mind, I’m a kid singing along,
just a ripped-jean, big-haired Gen Xer,
livin’ on a prayer, pledging
to be there for someone.

And though I’ll still perform it
like I’m auditioning for the band,
I won’t give love a bad name.
I won’t share mock-indignation
about the passage of time and
how life is spent in too-quick moments–

for we are still here, in food kitchens and schools,
streets alive with the melody of living
even amidst struggle’s cacophony.

There is beauty in endurance,
in honoring the worthiness of each soul.

We can celebrate that,
stick kindness on the cover.

Let’s never say goodbye
to the potential our one life offers.