Theodore Roethke





My Dim-wit Cousin

My dim-wit cousin, saved by a death-bed quaver,
Your little manhood long ago was smothered.
But for an uncle you were thought to favor,
Those doting aunties never would have bothered.
The cost of folly is forever mounting;
Your bed collapses from imagined sins.
Deterioration’s scrupulous accounting
Adds up a pair of jiggling double chins.
Your palm is moist, your manner far too jolly...
Today, while scraping hair before the mirror,
My shaving hand jerked back in sudden terror:
I heard your laughter rumble from my belly.


spoken = Heather C. Liston