Two Poems by Art Heifetz

Just A Number

When it comes to age,
we’re all in sweet denial.
A jury bribed to overlook
the evidence
has ruled that we’re still young.

It’s just a number, right,
says Tommy, my Greek barber,
don’t count the summers,
you knock a quarter off.
Il Kwon, the Korean grocer,
dyes his hair jet black,
José, who paints our kitchen,
takes a younger lover every year
and conceals her from his wife.

We all light up
like pinball bumpers
when we’re carded for
our senior discount
at the ticket booth
or when the huckster at the fair
misguesses our age
by a full six years
and we walk off with a kewpie doll
we have no earthly use for.

Can’t they see the furrows
ploughed by sleepless nights,
the six-months paunch
straining against the belt,
the hair combed a little too artfully
across the barren plains?

God bless your failing eyesight, sir,
won’t you drop a coin or two
in our tin cups of vanity
before you travel on?


To My Young Girlfriend

Turn off your iphone.
Come to my world.
Feel the mud ooze up
between your toes
as we cross a soggy meadow.
Learn to tell small lies
that can’t be verified.
Have a chance encounter
with a handsome stranger
in a dimly lit café
reeking of Gauloises.
Expect the unexpected.

Stop texting that u luv me,
I have trouble understanding
the clipped prose of the young.
I want to court you with
a dozen antique phrases
from the time before
my hair thinned out and
turned from chestnut brown
to leaden grey.

If you post this on your wall,
I’m going back to
older women.


About the Author:
Art Heifetz teaches ESL to refugees in Richmond, Va. He has had nearly 70 poems published in 6 countries. A sampling of his work maybe found at