Balm

Friends my age
zealously swap doctors visit
results with a verve once
reserved for athletic triumphs,
alleged prowess with women

A friend since we were twelve –
thwarted by diabetes; another,
friend for twenty-odd years,
marks the time his Parkinsons
is robbing from him, while
arthritis cripples a college chum’s
electronic technician hands

Others report suspect eyes kept
on various lumps, bumps, patches
of skin, other ‘changes’

The year I turned twenty, we
buried two high school classmates
who died of two different ailments,
a thousand miles but no chronology
apart; they were the opening acts of
a long running drama whose casual
intermission is now ending

I know how this show goes;
the lobby lights are being dimmed,
the curtain will soon rise again.

“All the worlds a stage,” indeed,
and every act eventually has
a final scene.

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