John Borges, we would love to award you,
Before you leave, for a good life
Lived, Johnny –
If not for a few objections. 

Let’s see here, ah, at four some years just,
You cursed in Church,
And eight you gave up on God;
At four months, you peed on your father’s

Face when he changed your diapers;
Yet too quickly at one you used toilets,
But forgot to flush about nine times
(In your lifetime) – forty purposely not –

(In your lifetime) you never saw 
The northern lights, nor a macaw
Flying – No white tigers, the Petra,
Nor kissed your dream boy, be an astronaut –

Your childhood goal at what? Ten or so,
And eighteen, wanted to be a father
Because your poetry was too much 
And A’s on half your English courses

Told you to – You met her then too
And though she wanted no kids,
You got her pregnant at twenty-two
(When you graduated),

And you married your college sweetheart,
Under the palm tree of your backyard,
Against your father’s

You drove her from her home three
States away, with a group of friends,
To your new home 
And she gave birth, 

In who knew where, your first-born
On the car seat of a Toyota Camry.
And you mourn your mother’s death in two days,
And you make banana bread next morning. 

Twelve, there was a cat
You’d see on your walk to work,
And you were scared of cats,
And the cat was never white;

When you were five, you dive
Unauthorized into DisneyWorld pools,
And strive, during midlife,
To finish your PhD somewhat soon,

And your wife had no sex since your baby;
Instead, she’d just touch herself,
And your baby had been named Emile,
(Mother was named Emily);

Tenure as Spanish professor, you wrote
None of the fantasies you acted
Under the palm tree of your backyard
Only to be chalked up as “okay” –

Your wife died under a pin oak,
A stroke, and you hate banana bread,
Since seven, when you first tried it,
But you kept trying, now and then, because 

It had a delicious name, like the
Names Marcel, Sylvia, Lyra, Eliza–
You married Elizabeth, grad student,
Thirty-nine under a birch tree, 

And you didn’t flush for the fortieth time,
On your fortieth birthday, and
There was a macaw outside the pet shop,
Five to eighteen, and it never once flew

Just perched on the folding chair, you watched
Your students talk and your mouth
Move; you went back home after
Your father’s

You had traveled:
Fifty countries, 
and only could

Remember your backyard from all those,
Where you wanted to be buried,
But you never told anyone,
And you were buried by Eliza

At the local cemetery;
You cried at the funeral –
You pronounced it FUNNERALL, 
All smiling, at four,

And thirteen, math was too hard,
And eighty, you forgot what you did yesterday
And two more, you were rushed to the hospital,
And three, you played Pokemon

Platinum in the emergency room,
And Luxray was your favorite,
Eighty-two, Eliza cried on your hand,
And seven, your mother did the same, and

And seven, you went to the zoo,
They had put Carlita the white tiger,
Away for the day,
And you were crying under a palm tree,

Looking at pamphlets of Petra’s churches,
And you swore you didn’t wanna leave
And mama and papa didn’t get it,
You didn’t want it to end –

I want banana bread –
Como mierda! Mierda!
It tastes like
The saddest lines ever written.

Writer | Fahim Zaman ’25 |
Editor | Sam Huang ’26 |