The Last Bath

Will we know it when it happens?

And (if so) how will we know?

Will we know that we know?

Will we be able to recognize it?

.

Will the moment herald itself

  with the shout of an archangel?

Or will we anticipate its coy arrival with

  a kind of parental prescience?

.

Will we decipher cryptic foreshadowing

  or detect an otherwise obscure clue?

Will we commemorate it in the moment,

  in real time, en diem?

.

Will we parade it down the staircase

  like Calvin’s living art?

Will we celebrate it, savor it,

  memorialize, or mourn it?

.

Perhaps, like a winter holiday

that we tacitly cling to,

it will unceremoniously,

surreptitiously pass us by—

a moment unmarked,

unheeded, unnoticed—

until finally, in years distant,

as erstwhile nesters,

we cringe and discard

the last of our last child’s bath toys?

.

There are notes of melancholy

  in every goblet raised to Progress.

Often a veiled pain accompanies

  the celebration of success.

Milestones are marked and praised,

  and dreaded as much as desired.

We long for what’s next

  while we pine for what’s past.

And we never really know

  which Saturday evening

  will bring us

The Last Bath.

January 7, 2022

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