For Their Second Childhood


 David Wagoner

 

 

There's hardly anybody

left alive to remind them

to stop that

slouching to stand up

straight to quit playing

with their food to chew it

certain numbers of times

and swallow

without gulping

and to know when to go

to the bathroom and where

it is and what to wash

and wipe and what to take off

and put on to be afraid

their faces will stay like that

or how they ought to start

thinking seriously

of the future just in case

they ever get there or what

for a change to please

remember for heaven's sake.