You Are What You Don’t Eat

by Published on

Finally one night my wife and i looked at each other
and said we’re old. it took decades to admit this.
But we’re young at heart and have made ourselves
go on a diet that requires we drink our weight in water
once a week to burn away what we don’t want faster.

I had to get old to learn the hidden secrets of the aged,
that even straight-laced, pasty-faced Episcopalians think
stupid thoughts and continue to have sexual fantasies
like teenagers, but much more slowly as if they’re tumbling
underwater. That’s why they’re quiet and smile a lot.

And we have to eat tiny little meals all day, like cows do,
and there’s a lot of getting up and down instead of the jolts
of power walking. it’s not that we need to lose weight.
it’s the feeling that something in us is missing and it’s growing
larger and we’re disappearing and there’s no time left to find it.

Jack MyersJACK MYERS, one of the great lights of Texas poetry for decades, passed away in Dallas in November. The author of 17 books of and about poetry, he was Texas Poet Laureate in 2003 and the recipient of two NEA Fellowships and two Texas Institute of Letters Poetry Awards. His books included Routine Heaven ( Texas Review Press Award), The Glowing River and As Long As you’re Happy (National Poetry Series selection chosen by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney). Jack co-founded The Writer’s Garret, a community-based Dallas literary center, with his wife Thea Temple; served on the Vermont College MFA faculty; and was Professor of English and creative writing at Southern Methodist University for 34 years. Students, readers and colleagues will long remember his dazzling genius and wit. He is already deeply missed. —Naomi Shihab Nye