Poem of the Week: “Old Man, Blue Plaid”

A Poem Uncovering Time and Family

  • Graphic Breea Kobernick

“Old Man, Blue Plaid”

I think the watches
must not fit your wrists after the weight loss
and I think
that it must pain you

You, man who commanded time
man of structure
measured the neatness of
the plate of food, the buttons on your shirt
the hand of cards you held

The clothes must fall loose atop your bones
amongst the folds of excess fabric you sit, bored
Staring at a plate of food
you cannot bring yourself to eat
the whisky has been forbidden, your liver groans
the hand of cards
is a cruel one I think.

I saw an old man, he pointed a wrinkled finger
Plump with wisdom, he stood
on posture and old age
but I hear
you become breathless and faint against the doorways, hear
you lie when the doctors ask if you fainted
if you’re in pain

do you
still point your finger
the way you taught my father to?
or have the lessons
grown thin with your limbs
can you still whistle the songs
you taught me that last summer
“Aquellos ojos verdes
que ya nunca volveran”
or is it true

your lungs fill up with water and give out on you mid-breath?

“Those green eyes that will never again
return”

I’ve learnt to whistle since, but will you ever hear me?
I need so much truth, will you ever answer me
Viejo? Will we ever meet again?

Am I a fool to hope this time you don’t
have the answers to my questions

By commenting on this page you agree to the terms of our Comments Policy.