I pine for a past life, 
the one in the desert, 
long-legged wife, 
back when we fit
comfortable loose,
we’d hike on full moon nights,
crunching mica and bits of stone,
the trail glimmering
in the moonlight 
like snake skin.

Or flicking cigarette butts
out the car window
along River Road,
new license, old jalopy,
pushing to see how far
I could go on six bucks cash,
so green I didn’t even know
the river shows a new face
at each bend.

Or standing on the front porch 
of the house on Country Lane,
my brothers and I 
banging pots on New Year’s Eve,
a ruckus to raise the dead,
yet not our tired old dad 
who snores right through it.

Ah, but here comes the scythe of now,
my short-legged wife, 
smelling vaguely of fried chicken,
standing in the office doorway
wanting to know 
how on earth 
can I not hear
our daughter crying?