The years die like old engines. The summer chokes to fall and you realize you are no longer twenty-five. You hope that mentally, you are still waxing, still getting better, not yet at that sad waning phase of the cycle so many friends started years ago already. The long long process of growing up and older like the slow expansion of galaxies pinwheeling in the vacuum. You didn't use to know the word insouciance. You are stronger, you suppose, though already your joints are failing. You are more desired now than you were at eighteen.
You try not to think of the grandmother of your ex, the way her matchstick fingers covered in blue veins looked as she fed a cracker to her parakeet, Baby, as Baby played with the cord from her breathing tube. She finally smiled at you once, after years of harlotry remarks. You didn't know it would be the last time you'd ever see her. They buried her alongside her husband, you heard, sometime last winter. The closest to each other they'd slept in years.