Seventies

By Ryan Gulledge

Ryan Gulledge is a junior at the University at Albany. He is an English major with double minors in communications and psychology. Reading and writing have been significant fixtures in his life for over a decade. He aspires to write for a living, or at the very least, help teach the discipline. Aside from reading and writing, his interests include playing video games, traveling, hiking, camping, and visiting historical landmarks. Coffee is his preferred beverage, which he almost always takes black.


You’re slouched in your floral chintz armchair

near the mildewed window

where the August sun teases your wrinkled neck.

On the adjacent table,

a cup of Earl Grey remains untouched.

For the fourth time today,

you ask me who I am.

My sight shifts to the dusty plush rug.

Your book lies limply in its maw.

How woeful would it be to write a eulogy stating,

“Melville was fed to a feral floor

By an unsteady lap?”

I can’t hear the word “stroke”

without tears stinging my face.

“Cerebral hemorrhage,” the doctor had said,

his bald head bowed low

like a swan bobbing for its breakfast.

So isn’t it ironic

that he cawed a crow’s lament?

Nobody told you that

your seventies are not your forties.

Recall us on my uncle’s sailboat,

Old Hudson roaring on all sides,

his aqueous tongue lapping the wooden hull.

Your young auburn hair

waltzed with the prevailing wind.

For a fleeting moment, I swear

I hear you crooning my name again.