Before I Am Old

I hope I die before I am old,

Before I dodder and my bones get cold,

A little dignity remaining in my core

And autumn still outside the door.

My eyes vacant and milky,

Hair like straw that once was silky,

So few surprises, mysteries, games of chance,

Only vaguely aware of having shit my pants.

Will someone kindly return me to dust

Under the wheels of a speeding bus?

I doubt I’ll draw such a merciful fate

Or a first-class ticket to the final gate.

Rather, I will slowly linger,

Only enough strength to raise my middle finger,

Or a drooling, senile old fool

Who can’t tell a teaspoon from an indoor pool

Do any of us deserve a quick death?

Is it a crapshoot? You get what you get?

I’ve been saluted by those about to die

And there but for grace will go I,

But if I be not too bold

Let me die, Lord, before I get old.

If not, let me at least recall this:

It’s no shame to be wiped clean of piss.

Remember, nature’s first green is gold.

Please let me die before I’m old.

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