Register Tuesday | June 18 | 2019

Self-Portrait as the Middle-Aged Fool

Second-place finalist in Maisonneuve’s "Memories of Margaritaville" literary contest

You've come a long way
past quotidian drunkenness, past caring
whether you left the stove on, the whereabouts
of your father's deer rifle, loaded
with one in the chamber. No reason to hurry home
now that everyone but the dog has gone, and yet
where would you go? Past last call,
throwing up in the back of the cab, and later
the dry heaves, you arrive at this clarity
like lucid dreaming. You have reached a place
where Heidegger makes sense, and stumbling
across the lawn, you can smell it: first snow,
not the end, but how an ending
is supposed to feel. In the yard, the maples
have made their arrangements, scattering
sepia photographs of themselves
on the sidewalk, and the only
suitable gesture is to weep. "Self-portrait as the middle-aged fool" took second place in Maisonneuve's "Memories of Margaritaville" literary contest. To read the winning entry, check out issue 13, on newsstands through March 10. For information about our current contest, click here. Steve McOrmond's first book of poetry, Lean Days, was published in spring 2004 by Wolsak and Wynn.