FNS: When One Is Young by Robert Joe Stout


Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative,
poem, spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.

Tonight’s poem is from Robert Joe Stout

one falls in love once or twice a week.
A smile, a friendly word, a compliment
and glorious futures burst across one’s sight.
Words like songs wind through the nerves,
smiles widen into provocations, yeses, lips inclined
for kisses, bodies yielding to the touch.
Reality gives way to hope, then hope to need and need to
fumbling for a returned smile,
a coy but somehow willing shrug. When one is young
one’s never sure of anything, one clamors
for advice, shrugs it aside, explodes with joy
one minute, weeps incessantly the next.

When one is old one falls in love
once or twice week. Reality gives way to shadows
much like dreams, then memories of yeses,
bodies yielding to the touch. That’s all one has
when one is old—and that is quite enough.

Robert Joe Stout’s latest books are Monkey Screams: 2015 and A Perfect Throw: 2013. He is active as a freelance journalist in Oaxaca, Mexico and has served on emergency human rights delegations there and in care for the aged facilities in La Paz, Mexico. His novels include Where Gringos Don’t Belong, Running Out the Hurt, and Miss Sally.


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