They say it began with an elderly man
foraging through the icebergs and romaines.
They say another who prefers his salad
without a stranger’s fingerprints
and Stop. From there, they say, curses
hissed through dentures. From there, fists.
They say it was a fracas, knocked bifocals
and clattering canes, the wooden screech
of chair legs, some to break up the scuffle
and some to shuffle off on a bad knee,
or pinned hip, or pace-makered heart.
One is bitten, they say. Another wears
a cut across his forehead, blood flowing
down the canals of his wrinkles.
Next day’s the same old same old,
as they say. Back to the quiet swing
of living without velocity or fire.
Shuffleboard and Pinochle, the dull
click of knitting needles, their final
gray years going limp. Or so they say.