At That Stage



At That Stage                                     



Ricocheting from one doctor

to the next, revealing or concealing

ailments to or from those who care


to know and those who don’t.  No more

simply an aging machine but one

reaching the end of its warranty


if it ever had one.  Did someone

say arthritis or bronchitis?  Glaucoma

or melanoma?  Dyslexia or dementia?


Or all the above?  Throw in, for good

measure – loss of taste, balance,

sleep, the whole germ-infested


kitchen sink.  Careful you don’t

heave up the mess.  That’s one more

symptom you don’t need.


Stale complaints of expired

or expiring generations are still

fresh in your ears as you hear


yourself involuntarily repeating

them.  You take your place

in the line of the no more young


before advancing to the line

of the no more.  Aches, chronic

and acute, tests, procedures,


911, emergencies, ICUs, and

countless pills, pills, pills.


You’re getting there, you say,

fooling yourself, when you know


very well you are there already,

can’t stave it off.  And what next?


An imperceptible trembling

in the leg, a fall down the stairs,

a sensitivity to light?  Forgetfulness


at twilight?  The slightest reaction

gone awry, a cause for alarm.

You’re at that stage, can’t


loosen the baton from your grip

except to pass it back to the one

behind you before you disappear.



Philip Wexler


Philip Wexler has over 200 magazine poem credits.  His full-length poetry collections include The Sad Parade (prose poems), and The Burning Moustache, both published by Adelaide Books, The Lesser Light (Finishing Line Press), With Something Like Hope (Silver Bow Publishing) and I Would be the Purple (Kelsay Books).  He also hosts Words out Loud, a hybrid in-person and remote monthly spoken word series in the Washington, DC area.

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