Men at Forty by Donald Justice | Poem No. 22 (NPM2017)


Men at Forty

by Donald Justice
Men at forty

Learn to close softly

The doors to rooms they will not be

Coming back to.
At rest on a stair landing,

They feel it moving

Beneath them now like the deck of a ship,

Though the swell is gentle.
And deep in mirror

They rediscover

The face of the boy as he practices tying

His father’s tie there in secret,
And the face of that father,

Still warm with the mystery of lather.

They are more fathers than sons themselves now.

Something is filling them, something
That is like the twilight sound

Of the crickets, immense,

Filling the woods at the foot of the slope

Behind their mortgaged houses.

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