The Grinning Years

I hate these grinning middle years,

between the surliness of youth and crabbed old age,

I hate the way we have to force a smile,

while inwardly we rage.


I hate the way we smirk at strangers

in Sunday playgrounds, hunched against the weather,

I hate that grimace we exchange that says,

we’re all in this together.


I hate the PTA and sponsored walks,

the blithe assumption that we give a flying fuck,

I hate the constant need to show concern

at others’ lousy luck.


I hate our shapeless jogging pants,

the careworn cardigans that make us look like wrecks,

I hate the way we dress as if to say,

too old and tired for sex.


I hate our veering trolleys loaded

with dwarf corn, fresh spinach soup, profiteroles,

I hate the way we feed our puffy bodies while

we starve our hungry souls.


Oh god, I hate these grinning middle years.