“Who Am I” by Alan Fox

Alan Fox


My brother believes
that if he refuses
to grow up
he will not die.
He flies kites,
spends money whenever he has it,
does not plan much,
and who am I to question this.
My father is 86 years old
and believes that his peaks of joy
will be matched by depths of despair.
He stays at sea level
where he seldom complains,
and tells me often that “everything is under control,”
and who am I to question this.
My wife
was once embarrassed when I kissed her passionately in public,
used to believe that marriage could be accomplished without conflict,
and is drawn, above all else, to children.
She devotes her days to helping friends and others,
finds time to be an abstract concept,
doesn’t tell me of her struggle to know herself.
Life is so magical
I can’t be sure it exists.
I do not understand
any fundamental part of it.
I am lucky with weather, parking spaces, and money,
I help my friends as much as I can,
and claim not to be afraid of death.
Who am I to question this?

from Rattle #42, Winter 2013


Alan Fox: “Last year, at age 72, I finally came to terms with my own mortality by deciding to focus the next twenty years of my life on writing. I’ve intended to do that since I was twelve. My first book, a self-help book called People Tools, will be published in January 2014. Of course, I’ve been working on it for more than twenty years.” 

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