Lacrimoso, a poem by Michael Ball at
Ralph Nas



written by: Michael Ball



Men, old men, measure their real age
not by their years, rather their tears.
In youth, they throttled, then bottled,
their sighs, sobs and wet from their eyes.

Grown men lose sugar lust as they
become softer, sweeter with age.
Grandchild’s kiss, back-of-brain love song,
flicks in dim theaters all make tears.

More damned up drops escape every year.
The same men who gather weekly
to sip and sip coffees for hours
and tease each other in the booth.

Back to junior high days, ragging
about their hair, wives, lawns and cars.
All is fair…except those stray tears.
Each knows those are now part of life.

When I drove into his carport,
Father-in-law John clung to me.
John’s deep under-eye skin creases
pooled then poured into his cheek crags.

I rushed his young grandsons to bid
an uncomprehending farewell
to Grandma, but predatory,
relentless wild cells got her first.

He could only gasp, “We lost her.”
He could still be a manly man,
but he no longer had to be.

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