Best Before (Written April 20)

Best Before


But he was very good-natured

They said, before the disease

Did such damage to his brain.


People liked him, and flocked

To his store, in numbers that drained

Him of energy and left him tired


And flat at the end of the day.

Many of the young people he hired

Went on to bigger and brighter


Futures, but never forgot

His nurturing hand. But the tighter

The grip of the illness,


The gruffer his manner,

And the more a certain stillness

In his speech made him seem cold


And unfriendly. He quit his various

Volunteer jobs, claiming he was too old

To waste his time on such trivia.


He had more and more trouble

With words and seemed oblivious

to the concern others felt. He became


Frustrated and angry. Nobody

Could talk to him. The game

Had come to an end. It was decided


To place him in a home, and though

He went along, in his mind he derided

The lot of them. Then one day


It happened. All he wanted, he said,

Was to sit in his usual chair, and play

Solitaire, and wear his usual crown,


But a woman got in the way, and

He pushed her, and she fell down.

After that, he was a marked man.

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