Glasses in hand, the better preserved lounge
in cliques, a dusky bar, the loud music ours.
I am praised for the distinguished graying
at my boyish temples, for my slim frame.
It’s good-natured flattery from the girls,
themselves a year or two from sixty,
who talk like sisters sharing a history:
the awkward dates, holding hands up the steps
of Goodnoe’s ice cream shop after a game.
Still, I respond with renewed, if subdued, lust
in my (I almost said, “heart,” but the locus
of lust lies in a warm southerly country
where the rules of heart and lung and liver
get no respect, where religion spends its time
preaching pieties at each new generation
of sinners, where lust rumbles, even now,
like a gentle earthquake, and the blue skies and
sunshine of midnight embrace that simmering land,
its volcanic peaks, its desert, basking
and baking, just waiting and waiting
for that time when, in the end, you’re done) heart.