“Backward and Abysm”, by Alan Forrest Hickman

Sometimes I think I must be aging backwards
Like that guy in the movies, and if I’m right 
You may begin to recognize me in a few years
Not that I’ve changed all that much – no, really! – 
Bear witness to the fact that my skin has a softer
Glow, I’m sure that’s so, not that anyone’s had
An occasion to know, not lately, mostly keeping 
Their distance and all, thanks to the pan-dimmy; 
You might say I’m in the pink. And I know I’ve got
More hair than I did last year. Not particularly long
But longish and that’s saying a lot given all the fur
I’ve seen circle the drain. My nipples are receding;
There, I said it, you can tell from all the pix we took
Last year in lockdown. Not exactly wasting away
In Margaritaville, but a damn sight less retroussé
Than they were in the past. I like the way they
Set off that badge-like protuberance on my chest
And even badge-y is wont to be sounding a retreat
These days. I’m aging backwards, I think. Can’t prove it
But give me some time and you’ll see it for yourself:
Now, I don’t like to go all Brad Pitt on you but
I’m still planning to leave behind me one hell of a 
Good-looking corpse (God willing and the creek);
At 70-some years, a Bieber-boy in progress, retro- 
Mummified and living off the fat (back) of the land – 
Hell, I’m living proof that longevity is its own 
Reward, even if the end turns out to be grave-y. 

Dr. Alan Hickman is a poet and essayist who has been teaching English literature and composition at the American University in Dubai for the past seven years. His interests are music, film, and travel. He received his PhD in English from the University of Arkansas in 1990. 

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