I heard that arthritis is the motion when the driest bones
grate each brittle chalk stick to powdered grit
(like to create a fire with stones or split wood)
the resulting bone smoke catches the throat
and you grow an ashy rattle, sounding old and wild.
As the rest of the flesh is not used so much, it’s consumed
– rather thin grub for impatient worms –
the last of those flicking slubbed veterans, less substance left than paper.
I can’t blame them.
They’ve been watching the wasting too long to wait their turn.
My nurse disagrees with me, vehemently
but what does she know,
her knees are fine, and besides
she’s eighty years away from my corner of space and time.
Mine’s the back place, there, with the plastic chair
‘wipe it clean’ and arms wide with an expectant absence,
white wash negative walls, stainless steel rails,
the table laid out with aspirin, grubby copper cufflinks, and unwanted spare change.