The Address Book

When it came to the deaths of friends,
my mother's practice was to x
out their names in her address book. I
draw one diagonal slash, as if the name,
address, phone numbers all were a mistake;
then in the lower right, an afterthought
or postscript or correction: one last date.

The book whose pages I am turning now
offers no such stark delineations
of before and after, lived and died.
Each day lifts up a fresh face all the cleaner
for having forgotten its own name.
Hours, weeks, months, years roll mildly on.
The end's the same.

~ Rachel Hadas
Old age is - a lot of crossed off names in an address book. ~ Ronald Blythe

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