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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Poem: 162 words
By Charlie Brice

Old Age

Night sweats and fatigue 
	ankles on strike for lighter loads 
		unidentifiable mushrooms and bizarre 

underwater plants growing on your back 
	you envision a microscopic farmer 
		atop his itsy-bitsy combine 

chugging along the fleshy arroyos of your back 
	harvesting those disgusting growths 
		and taking them to a minuscule market 

where viruses and bacteria buy them 
	eat them 
		and die 

You try to remember the last time 
	you slept through the night or rose 
		in the morning without pain 

Age spots blot the smooth and unblemished skin 
	where your forehead used to reside 
		your joints have opted for early 

rigor mortis Parts of you sound like a rusty hinge 
	when you walk while a malevolent gnome 
		plays marbles in your back 

Your ideas are wrapped in mothballs 
	what you had thought were cutting edge 
		concepts have become intellectual lint lodged 

in the tweed pockets of contemporary academia 
	What a surprise to discover that you 
		never step into the same life twice 


Charlie Brice
Issue 11, January 2022

won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His chapbook, All the Songs Sung (Angel Flight Press), and his fourth poetry collection, The Broad Grin of Eternity (WordTech Editions), arrived in 2021. His poetry has been nominated twice for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Chiron Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, and elsewhere.

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