(12 July 1994) after Edgar A. Guest

You tease me about the holes in my socks and think I should do something about missing a loop when I put on my belt; you try to turn down my collar although I turn away your hand and won’t be mothered; but you let me keep my old shoes after the soles wore lopsided and cracks opened in the creases. I tie them loosely to slip them on and off for raking leaves and puttering about the yard. Worn down to something reasonable, we disagree only when we are likely to agree, and the recurring differences— whether we have time before rushing off to work for you to brush your teeth, whether I should wear my moccasins when I put out the garbage cans— are opportunities to show we care. If things that are constant disappear, why haven’t these things disappeared? Why haven’t habits and sentimental forms of thought crept from the dark slower than the hour hand? Why haven’t we noticed their encroachment?