by Michael Selker
When our friend turned sixty she wanted
a new life, wanted to tuck up and tighten,
wanted to get rid of those lines
When people and things fell apart in her life
and her car made a funny noise in neutral,
she took control and hired a plastic surgeon.
Now she is wrapped in ice for the swelling,
time suspended, cut white lilies on the table.
His Boston Whaler is still in the driveway
with life jackets and oars packed inside
as if he might return at a moment’s notice,
the keys to the cabin in Cannon Beach
still hanging on the hook by the basement door.
Ten to twenty years erased. And why not.
We tell her to remember she is beautiful
with or without that surgery. We tell her
to remember that the world makes us do these things.
To remember the Zen Koan that tells us to show
the face we had before our parents were born.
Michael Selker graduated from UCSB at a vibrant time for English majors; Hugh Kenner, Kenneth Rexroth and Basil Bunting were among the faculty. Selker studied with Hugh Kenner and lived next door to Bunting, who loved to drink beer and recite poetry—his own as well as work by friends Pound, Creeley, Ginsberg and others. Selker has published work in Cloudbank, Hubbub and Windfall and has one chapbook, Crazies’ Bus Stop, published by Pudding House Press.