Old Pet
by A.F. Moritz

copyright © 2008 A.F. Moritz

Come, my body, leap up, while you still can,
onto my knees, into my lap. Come let me pet you,
comfort you and take comfort while there’s time,
while you last. How calm you are: content, it seems,
with your infirmity, your age, in the almost changeless
youth of your soft hide, your pelt and shy quiet,
expressionless as you huddle and crouch for this leap
you can still make, though it’s grown great, this petty
piece of your young and many springs.

Why did I never, body, cherish you enough?
Although I thought I was spending all my minted hours
on you, till I’d cry at the long waste of time, chained
by eyes and tongue, the ends of every extremity,
to your pleasure. Now I can’t recall ever once
kissing you, lying locked in you, deep as I want.

You’ll die, it won’t be long, body, swiftly
in animal nobility – how you wear your decline unnoticing,
the way a poor man walks in his only shirt to work –
and then, without you, in what mud of my own
making will I linger, falling apart? Purr now
and fuse your old pleasure into crotch of my torso,
palm of my hand, vision of eyes and sag of diaphragm
inseparably; they’re yours. Give me your indifference
that a once forest-wide range comes down
to couch and counter now, and this lap. Give me
your unrepentant having-known
a more-than-ant’s-intimacy with the grass,
a more-than-god’s-innocence in the hunt,
a greater-than-winged-agility in branches
and light. Leap up, body, while you still can,
let me finally hold you, feel you, close enough.