Robert M. C. King turned 88 this month.
Laid across my face once, made me
see stars, my left ear ringing.
Both our cheeks burning.
In the car for church, smoothed
my morning hair, his pocket comb
repeating (his own hair mostly missing).
Summer Saturdays crusted, stained
with soil (his hoe a cane until he gained
the garden, then weeds flailing –
his leg that had been lamed, not
his hand). How strange to me
to see it age, the slow deforming.
Long so deft at carving beef,
correcting math, pressing the pants
for Sunday, shoes polishing,
here it is in the last weekend ritual:
stiff, bent, wrinkled,
shakily placing each cribbage peg.
The cards carefully dealing.