M. The Old Widower’s Effluvium
His cachet evolves from subtleties,
as he is groomed for an ever smaller room.
He doesn’t sweat for he cannot toil,
so baths now seem superfluous,
as is the daily brushing of his dentures.
His underwear is worn for weeks
because he can’t recall when it was donned;
and fearing modern washing machines,
all his ancient clothes have spawned
a strange olfactory patina —urine drops
from thinned urethra, grease spots
from many nights of fried potatoes,
absorption in the clothes of stale, heated air
flavored with a cold but stinking pipe,
with mustiness of ancient books and magazines,
of dander, parts of bugs in threadbare carpets,
of dusty drapes faded and falling apart,
of frequent whiffs of mildewed meats,
wizened apples and wilted lettuce.
All this effluvium suggests a coming coda:
He will slowly disappear into his Lazy Boy,
there being no longer appreciable distinctions
between himself and his surroundings.