He saw the wrinkles on his hands:
time’s etchings that he swore
weren’t there before his recent yesterday.
And so he put his work aside,
hard wounded was his vanity, his pride
in how, for long years, he had been a man
who guarded well his youth,
unable now and any more
to push away, deny, and bury deep, the thought
that he, unlike his kith and kin,
would never be despoiled
by any of the ravages
that soil and debt the passing years
or know experientially, or have a cause to dread
what St. Paul named the wage of sin,
and laid himself upon his bed
to dream away his fears
of all the dark impediments to vital life
and industry to which
all flesh is heir.
Written by Baldwin
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