Undressing

by Tom Bajoras

All of life is an undressing.
First there is the dream of a child,
Piano or baseball.
To be the best, break the records, add your name to the history books.
It turns out that you’re ordinary,
And the uniform comes off one final time.
At least you have a wife, maybe children,
and sometimes they say that you were good, or good enough.
Hair turns gray, the back bends, knees no longer make it up the stairs
let alone around the bases.
Your grandparents have been gone for twenty years,
and now your parents are gone too,
leaving only you
with a box in the bottom of the closet
in which an old photo of your first piano recital
is the only reminder of a vanished dream.
And now you stand by the bed,
let your last piece of clothing fall to the floor,
and you whisper to heaven with all your remaining strength
“Here I am, naked. Take me.”