As If By Music Taken

In the veins of the aged, blood is a messenger
of the first dulled pulse of a ventricle. Bend gently
so the muscles are cajoled into play. Bear astonishing pain.
Feel it course through the arteries, splitting the flesh into flame.
Pain can give way to a waltz, dinner in the orangery, an embrace by dessert

but to say that it may doesn’t mean that it will.
Think of the invisible burdens borne. Imagine a slope
that young couples scale in a minute, explore for a moment,
abandon in seconds. Lovers at seventy stagger achingly to the summit,
steady their bodies where time draws breath, gains strength, chases them down.

—Richard Merelman, Madison, WI