After 40 Years

When manna refuses to fall from heaven
we may find ourselves left with no other option
but to wring it from the earth below our feet.

Acceptance

I’ve come to realize
that maybe I won’t ever understand
all the reasons why you did
what you did.

But I’ve also grown to realize
that maybe that’s ok.

how could i forget

we lay together, composed between foreplay and sobriety.
bodies resting peacefully against the other’s grooves.

my arms draped heavily over hers in a steady embrace,
as our legs intertwined in effortless coordination.

she pulls my fingers close,
and her lips gently caress the crook of my thumb.

we dance a still and silent, horizontal bolero.

Of Your Next Love

Of your next love, dear, I can hold no rights or demands.
But if I were to bid fate a wish; let him be a good man.

Let him give you everything that he can and is willing,
but not so much that he loses himself or grows bitter,
or so selflessly that you can’t bear the unpayable debt.

Let him not lose faith in himself when he lets you down,
nor in you on the days that try him the hardest.

Let him take pride, not in being your first love,
nor your last love, nor in being your best love,
but merely in being counted among the lucky few.

Let him stir in you the catalysts of inspiration,
and let his fires be stoked by the bellows of your soul.

Let him mind your scars from our time together,
and let him grow impatient with my role in them.
But let him also recognize and appreciate in you,
the parts he loves that others before him have left.

Let him speak with you in all manners of joy and sorrow,
and let him hold you in silence when words can do no more.

Lastly, let me find the strength and peace to not say,
“Let him be a better man to you than I ever was.”
Let me hope, simply and purely, that he be a good man.

countdown

What if we met our end
in the same manner we began?

Imagine that death had a gestation period:
nine months, give or take a couple weeks.

We might perceive a change in the wind…
Perhaps buy a test at the local pharmacy.

Two lines are all the indication we’d need.


An initial shock.
Fear and uncertainty.
Back to Walgreens for another test.

Yikes.

“…There was so much I wanted to do before this.”


The closest friends are the first to know.
Some are supportive. Others, less so.

Eventually, acceptance.
We find new strength in our resolve.

Planning and preparation begin shortly after.
Counseling for what to expect,
for both ourselves and our loved ones.
Will this happen naturally at home?
Or will we consider a physician-assisted option?
We’ve never seen so many informational pamphlets.


Showers are held in celebration.
We gift our possessions to family and friends,
rather than the other way around.

In the final months, a photographer is hired to
capture these fleeting moments of transition.
Our eyes dart to and from the camera lens
as we exhale anxious anticipation
and mumble reaffirming phrases to ourselves.

“Who’s gonna want to see this, anyway?”
The album garners a record number of likes on Facebook.


Practice, practice, practice.
We know the route to the hospital forwards and backwards.
Everything is packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Close family flies in from out of town to lend a hand.

“When are you expecting?”
“Oh, any day now.”


Then,
gratefully, after so much anticipation,
but still terrifying in its uncertainty –

quite, quite suddenly,
it is time.

Always

I don’t care what the doctors say.

There isn’t a single part of me
that doesn’t serve a purpose –
no extra appendages,
useless features,
or vestigial organs.

Because every piece of my being
has been willed into loving you.

Even when the cancer takes me over
I’ll leave a note on the door, saying
“Don’t forget the milk.”

Sherpa

A scotch of six decades
rolls about the heavy tumbler
in my left hand.

Perched at the keys,
a dark-skinned woman
(of a similar vintage)
croons a dulcet melody,
evoking pungent memories
of times I’ve never known.

I am twenty-two.
And I gulp my drink
with haphazard intent,
as men my age are wont to do.
The lesson burns as I take it in.

Her name is Pam.
And recognizing the signs
of my captive entrancement,
she offers to take the lead.

We sing a duet about paper moons.

fossil feels

From time to time I tend to contemplate
old feelings I committed to the deep.
Through layered sediment I excavate,
unearthing storied counsel that I keep.

Experiences, friendships come and gone –
emotions I once harbored for a she.
I burrow deeper still, reflecting on
such fleeting moments of my memory.

The crucible in which my soul anneals –
a neverending source of fossil feels.