Based on “Family in Front of Waterfall”
by Frank Paulin
Stoic as the sycamores,
distant as the delta
to which the falls’ current leads.
Statuesque in the foreground,
man, husband, father
becomes the focus.
A chest sturdy in youth,
by age’s misery metamorphosed
to emasculating breast.
Impassivity, the consequence of wife;
apathy, the gift of two children.
A face ambivalent
as the waterfall which it stands before,
no longer producing
any forceful current.
Luminous when lovers first met,
his eyes are lockets unto themselves, tarnished
and lackluster, the picture inside fogged as trees on the horizon.
Eyes hidden as the rock
behind waterfalls of hair,
bare slits of eye—revealed in wind’s gust—
no more alive than the cigarette,
merely burning less.
The mouth that said “I do” exhales smoke as empty as those two words.
A grave once mowed is now unkempt,
buried in an overgrown cemetery of regrets,
a beard to camouflage into the scenery.
The only strength remaining
extends from forearms
bald and bold as boulders behind.
A coarse river runs between man and children,
an idle bridge stands vacant
between husband and wife.