Apologia to the Back of Our Necks


                      Let us repent then, however overlate we may be
                          to spare the shagginess that till yesterday
                          still ruffled and flourished upon our heads;

                          Should we have presumed to part with our hair
                          behind? Yielding on top to Jolly Dame Nature
                          but in back to the mordant course of history;

                          Death (it is said) shall have no dominion
                          yet Anno Domini keeps exacting its price:
                          a collective tolltaker for that good night


      Into which we are told to not go gentle
       even though at two-and-thirty we go twice
       arounder the block than we went at sixteen;

       So increase our own balditude, hitherto slight,
       by hacking off backlocks and detailing ducks
       for the first time in foursquared years or more?

       Expose then our napes all too shaven and shorn,
       unless they be recovered by neckerchief worn
       as we might place on our arms a band of crępe?

       Life is quite short enough without further truncation;
       and though Prufrocklike we may grow old, grow old—
       our scruffish trousercuffs shall remain unrolled.


Originally published in Dog River Review
(Parkdale, OR: Trout Creek Press)
Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 1990

Copyright © 1990, 2004  by P. S. Ehrlich

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