You know Tom loved the lissome Becky
just the way wax loves the wick.
And you know his curiosity
made him want to be
the star of his own funeral
even if it cost him a lick
(or ten) of a painful hickory switch.
And you know Tom would wax dramatic
to be a curiosity in town,
and his funeral drew Becky,
all lissome, sad and empty
(like a night without a star);
and gravity drew down
her tears as it pulls everything down.
And you know how the story ended.
But that was over a hundred years ago—
today, what would Becky be?
Pregnant? Oh, pregnant, possibly
(maybe Tom’s, maybe not).
and Tom’d be half-scared, half-gung-ho
and halfway to Baghdad with no chance
to be the star of his own funeral,
his curiosity like a wick
(guttering) out of wax
(like a politician facing facts).
And the last lissome girl he kissed?
All scared and sometimes sick.