And which of you by being anxious can add
one cubit to his span of life?
Matthew 6: 27
A and B would scarcely remember
When the two weren’t friends A knows of B
That after grim chemo his hair came back
The doctors reckoned they’d licked his disease
B’s tall A is sufficiently shorter
He never till lately noticed B’s round
Of pattern baldness Yes his hair is back
And out of sight A kneels on the ground
The cancer’s back too God if you’re there
Thinks A If you can truly do wonders
Let B grow into a natural baldness
A knows his is no conventional prayer
And conventionally worries it’s wrong to kneel
And beg with his being’s every morsel
that B will be thus strangely blessed
Real baldness all of a sudden that crucial
By Sydney Lea
Originally published in The Southern Review and subsequently in the collection No Doubt the Nameless (Four Way Books, NYC, 2016).
Mr. Lea is a former Pulitzer finalist and Vermont’s Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2015, Sydney Lea is the author of 23 books, fourteen of them poetry collections, most recently Here (Four Way Books, NYC, 20219). In 2021, he was presented with his home state of Vermont’s most prestigious artist’s distinction: the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.