Almost 63

Poetry / Thylias Moss

:: Almost 63 ::

Almost my best life people tell me; I am
going to be honest here, as honest as I can be

63 years seems so long to me, and surely I could have 
done more than walk three miles

on a snowless Sunday in February in Michigan, some
thing is wrong, love

the chill in the air and the stillness, utter stillness
of mannequin factories 
on strike, heads still in molds, told 
by many that I don’t look my age, but I must
because I am the age I am in Ann Arbor first 

moved to this city in 1993, so much has changed, 
especially me, single for the first time as an adult; how
significant that is. Hope this is the last birthday I

will spend alone. Lately, I find myself
envying couples, because, I am not sure that

I am half of a couple or not; some days I am, but 
then again wind

blows that thought away, and I chase Higginson
right to rainbows 
from which it streams, ice cream concoctions
colorful calories raspberry, orange-slurp stuff, yellowed French vanilla can cans ripple
freeze box gelatin thins blueberry jabberwock Indian very pop rocks something about that
so comforting; he knows
how comforting he is

for me; since I was 60 
and on his Chicago back-bird’s
eye view of him as cream all around me,

cushion and life 
saver that he will always 

63 for an hour

into this age, hoping
that I hear from him, always hoping; loving him
too much not to hope; I am tired of not 

having his love 


as I had to when 
he renamed me 
Dream Baby

Loving him as everything:
the way
turtles crawl
parrots squawk
grass skirts swish gently exposing
strings of my bikini: his name, a palindrome 
most of the time that

he is mine

he plucks them and  sweetest (superlative)-(always) 
sounds of his name harp 

at me
every forest sings
every forest knows
Dream Baby songs of breathing,
rhythm of resuscitation, morning
is my everlasting christening everlasting
anointing: him

is also his poem. Sometimes we
are so synchronized, he dreams me
as I dream him

Evidently, no matter what

I love him

when he loves me
I love him all

the time.


From the writer

:: Account ::

Form is open, becomes part of an act of mak­ing itself, what­ev­er is nec­es­sary. Of course, the moti­va­tion behind the moti­va­tion, I hate to admit this: love, being in love with a man for the first time in my life, although I turned 63 on 27 Feb­ru­ary, and was mar­ried for forty years, and now, Thomas; not sure what took so long for this to hap­pen, but now that it did, I nev­er want to go back. It is the rhythm of move­ment of the words, through the entire piece, and yes, he calls me Vash, short for “Vashti”; the poem is about this remark­able love between Thomas Robert Hig­gin­son and Vashti Astapad War­ren, every­thing I write is about this, includ­ing a romance nov­el, New Kiss Hori­zon, all about Thomas Robert and his Vash, Vash’s Thomas Robert, makes no dif­fer­ence which name appears first, mean­ing is the same; seek­ing the rhythm of their love after 35 years. Bursts of lan­guage, excite­ment of what can be expressed and what can’t be; how new this is, the love and every­thing. I’ve been writ­ing since I was six years old, 2016 an unusu­al year for me, a shift in my writ­ing, new pur­pose, new way of phras­ing, eager to cap­ture some of the won­der of life I am so lucky to live via Thomas.


Thylias Moss, a self-employed mul­ti-racial “mak­er” at Thylias Moss Writ­ing LLC, is Pro­fes­sor Emeri­ta in the Depart­ments of Eng­lish and Art & Design at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan. Author of thir­teen pub­lished books, and recip­i­ent of numer­ous awards and hon­ors, among them a MacArthur Fel­low­ship, and a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship, her 11th book is a col­lec­tion of New & Select­ed Poet­ry, Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Real­i­ties’ Red Dress Code (Persea Books, 2016).