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as you look across
the room/table/bed
at him/her/them
your heart’s perfect home

remember this

skin wrinkles
waists thicken
hair goes thin/grey

know this

hearts grow
minds expand
dreams die/are reborn

expect this

we are inconstant
water in life’s river
evolving/adapting/learning

accept this

alive
we change
we are change

want this

life
is our fate
promise
gift

remember this
know this
expect this
accept this
want this

***

k

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A swan, she was, with all that entails.

Long-necked, pale, graceful, a pillar of dignity,
She was also fearless and arrogant,
Intimidating with a sharp-eyed glare,
Loyal unto death.
Within her arms, I felt safe, protected by her fierce strength.
She stood behind me in maternal overwatch
As I took first steps to face a harsh world.
She taught her children with patience.
She dealt harshly with threats.
She fought all comers until the end.

A swan, she was, with all that entails.

————————

k

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Man, the tool maker.

Great apes, dolphins, sea otters, crows, jays, octopuses: Dude, get a grip.

Man, the user of language.

Dolphins (again), orcas, bats: Um… what now?

Man, the animal that grieves.

Elephants, dolphins (yet again), giraffes, jays: Seriously?

Man, the animal that farms its food.

Ants, damselfish, wood beetles: Hey, get off my lawn!

Man, um, the … jeez … the animal that cooks its food.

Dragons: Hold my beer.


k

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Thursday: Barbarians at the gate

Riders, sir! Enemy advancing! Portcullis down! Drawbridge up! All able bodies to the walls! Defend the city! Heaven help us, they’ve breached our defenses. We’re being overrun!

Friday: Auto-da-fé

Muscles are seared by heat. Every joint creaks. Be strong! Don’t give in. Tell them nothing! But the fire, it burns. It burns!

Saturday: Eye of the Storm

The fire is out. My lungs pop and snap with the sound of distant firecrackers, only to explode in fits of coughing that tear my throat. My muscles have the strength of cooked ramen. I get aerobic just standing up. This thing, it has my wife, now; she is following my trail, and today she burns in Torquemada’s fire.

Sunday: Clever Girl

The virus spent two days in my chest and has fully colonized me. Now it climbs to its launch pad: my head. Chest rattling, nose dammed, the hacking coughs are joined by hook-ended sneezes that tear off little bits of lung in their explosive exit. My eyes weep tears of acid, burning, bringing more toxic tears. I am a seeping, spasmodic mass of flesh. The yellow jack flies high.

Monday: The Land of the Vocal Fry

My voice has dropped below Barry White level and shudders like an ill-tuned Harley. Every miserable exhalation is accompanied by a crushed-gravel moan, but not from pain; it’s a comfort. To hear my voice, damaged as it is, is to confirm that I’m still alive.

Tuesday: End Game

Expectations are low. Stamina is limited. We return to work (from home … we don’t want to give this to anyone else), but will continue to rest, repair, and recoup our spent reserves.

k

Disclaimer:
I do not often get colds. Usually, I fight them off. This is the first time I’ve been brought low in about two years. My wife — a woman who always gives me straight answers to direct questions — assures me that rather than being a man-baby about it, I’m pretty much a Stoic, refusing to succumb even when rest would do me more good. This time, I had little choice. Surrender was my only option.

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We have changed, she and I.

The slender, vibrant creatures of decades past are gone. The bright, idealistic hearts of youth have faded.

Our eyes are dimmer, our skin more slack. The hair we brush is thin, dull. Our waists are thick. Our steps less spry. Our knees creak as we climb the stairs. We can feel in our joints a coming storm. Night comes early, and rarely now are we awake to hear the chimes at midnight.

Others look at us and see: an older couple, a bit odd perhaps, a bit retrograde in tastes and attitudes, middle-aged, greying, but pleasant. We are faded echoes of a beauty long past its prime. That is what they see, and they are not wrong but…

…I see us differently.

I see two souls in a long, entwined dance, an Arthur Murray diagram stretching back through time and space. I see two bodies, traveling together, paired by love’s gravity, swinging each other through the cosmos. I see the whole of us, from our separate births through our unlikely meeting, a shared past gyring toward an unknown hoped-for future.

We’ve seen decades. We’ve learned from life. We know that nothing lasts forever — only the earth and the mountains — but beauty resides within us still.

The beauty of our history.

The beauty of our past.

The beauty of our one life built together.

To us.

k

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Le crayon rougeOops. Sorry.

By “writing to the market” I didn’t mean “gearing your work-in-progress to match current market trends” (which, I feel compelled to add, unless you are a spectacularly fast writer with a very good agent, is a fool’s game).

I mean “writing to the market’ as in writing copy for marketing. Which is what I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks.

You see, my wife opened a business. (more…)

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The Power of You

Lupine Hi-Rise“Why don’t you do something with your life?”

Such an awful question.
So packed with disdain and condescension.
So dismissive.
You can hear the curled lip in the words.
You can taste the bile.

“You had such potential.

Sharp words.
Words designed to hurt, flay, maim.
Words heated in a smith’s forge, hammered into blades, honed to an edge, and thrown with piercing accuracy.

Useless words. Utterly useless. (more…)

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