Ruth Stone (June 8, 1915 – November 19, 2011)
If you had a lot of money
(by some coincidence
you’re at the Nassau Inn in Princeton
getting a whiff of class)
and you just noticed two days ago
that your face has fallen,
but you don’t believe it,
so every time you look in the glass
it’s still hanging there where it wasn’t.
Would you take the money you needed
for a new roof on your old house
(the house you’re paying for
over and over in property taxes)
because it’s been leaking for years
and you’re tired of emptying buckets
and spraying for mold,
would you take that money
and get your face lifted?
Face-lift. They cut a slit
under your ears and pull up the slack
and they tack it with plastic.
Then they pull up the outer
skin and trim it because it’s too long and
fasten that. (Your skin
pulls loose from the fat like chicken skin.)
Because once you were almost
as beautiful as Jane Wyman ...
your friends all said that.
Of course at the time she was
married to Ronnie and you were
involved with the ASU—
a McCarthy suspect.
Forget about your neck.
They can’t do that yet.
A face-lift lasts five years.
So you could go on being a member
of new-speak and re-entry—
with the unsung benefits
of radiation and by then
your roof would have rotted anyway.
Or been recycled by some corporate kid.
But think how you’d rather
be stripped and streaked
and while you’re about it
get some implants of baby teeth buds
that they’ve taken from dead babies’ gums
and frozen for this sort of thing.
You could still die young.
Comments about this poem (It Follows by Ruth Stone )
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