Arthritic fingers clutch spoons, forks,
screwdrivers & remote-control devices
like bags of silver—precious, heavy,
hard & peculiar—unable to fully grasp
the shape of objects in gnarled fists
once strong & limber reduced to skin
that covers skeletal digits like tarps
stretching out over leaky shingles
tapped on homes erected a century ago.
Gathering like a herd of elephants
senior citizens flock to Florida, initiate
death rituals, determine how to live out
remaining days while negating
a woman’s right to healthcare and choice.
Stubborn, proud, resilient, senior musicians
recall days when their hands slid down
saxophone keys with grace & distinction
jazzy riffs filling speakeasies, low lights
reflecting off billowing waves of smoke;
sitting apart in overstuffed lounge chairs
they bewail their inability to play
brassy notes, tickle upright piano ivories
hold onto microphones & sing the blues.
A Washington-based author, educator, and Pushcart nominee for poetry, Sterling Warner’s works have appeared in many international literary magazines, journals, and anthologies such as The Ekphrastic Review, Anti-Heroin Chic,Sparks ofCalliope, and others. Warner’s collections include Without Wheels, ShadowCat, Memento Mori, Edges, Rags & Feathers,Serpent’s Tooth, Flytraps, Cracks of Light: Pandemic Poetry & Fiction, Halcyon Days: Collected Fibonacci (2023) and Masques:Flash Fiction & Short Stories. Currently, he writes, turns wood, and hosts virtual/face-to-face poetry readings.Warner highly recommends the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.