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For today most are born
Between 1920 and 1940
I find some reassurance that
My cohorts, from the 50’s
Are holding on.


I feel sad for the people
Whose pictures are from
When they were 20 or 30,
Even though they lived
To 80.


I love all the minutiae,
The hobbies and talents
Sometimes the bowler
Will be revealed in his shirt,
Though the picture ends
Below his chest,
I see the two-toned shoes
With white socks
Behind the details of his life.


Then there’s the list of
The left behinds and I know
Each one of these
Is reading their name,
Checking who was included.
Some clipping this obit
From the paper, leaving a hole,
Glued into scrapbooks,
With a funeral home brochure
And the program, some even
Photo the body, vacant.


When I was 59 I started this ritual
Of browsing the pages in the newspaper
Only on Sundays,
But now at 60 I always check
Read carefully, daily
Those born n the 50’s.
Pray for the parents
If they are still living.
Going before your kids
Should be a part of the contract.
Life should not be
Out of order.
My grandmother was thoughtful
Enough to go four months before
My mother. Sometimes I think
My mother waited, intentionally.
The women, in my Southern family,
Were always considerate.