What if rusted by George Burns

When I honestly take stock of my life, I’m sometimes at a loss: what I should do with all I’ve unpacked? The pain, the shame, the missed opportunities… Here’s one by George Burns. He’s right there with me.


Photo courtesy Brian Landis

What if rusted

by George Burns

What if stripped
Stripped and rusted
What if stripped rusted
       and stained
What if mother
       rusted stripped and stained

Where would I begin
What if my throat rusted
What if, where would I begin
       stripped
       stained
       mother

What if some polish somewhere
       begins to unstain
with some polish somewhere
What then would I paint
       the stained shell
       white or pink
       leave it
Stained

Oh mother why did you
What if we could
       wrap the rust
       in a shell of rose stain

Why did we
What if
Should we just leave it
       Stripped


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