-Donald Justice, “Sadness”
I’m young, laughably young and yet I’m thirty,
Thirty-two really, but I’d like to think I’m thirty.
Years ago, I thought one day I’ll marry, around thirty.
Ten years now, already past the third
big crisis then at thirty.
We adjusted, so that breaking a certain number of promises
was okay, expectations were lowered, the promise
of a honeymoon in Europe not forgotten, each year promised
for the next, transgressions given retroactive permission.
The love letters are still lying in the drawer. There’s more than thirty
from the summer we met (the enormous phone bills
draining our meager savings), interleaved with handbills
from those first gigs in tiny black-walled clubs. Second-billed
for David Lee Roth, hair receding, we mocked him with his roadies,
come out to cull the women in their thirties.
Now we are there. A little fatter, a little puzzled
at the swans beside the lake and how they waddle,
their paces slow, laboring outside the weight of water.
We’re not bitter. We just wonder,
(for him, three) I could have settled with a promise,
spent a life with, paying bills
(I don’t think one is really better
than another – it’s the time that makes it so)
How is it us, now, at thirty?
whipchick isn't thirty any more.