I’ve chased down a thousand things I called time to get where I am right now.
The front room of my grandma’s house wearing a winter parka over my pajamas.
I’ve chased a little boy I call baby because I am afraid for what I love to grow beyond me.
I wake up at four in the morning with no alarm set like an old man, like a grandfather
feeling chill crept in from corners and up from the window sills because the fire is low.
Coals grown cold compared to what they were when I first laid down and closed my eyes
like a young man, tired, forget that, exhausted, like a young father, indebted to the castle
he funded by the credit of his youth.
In a few years knees won’t work and back will refuse.
There had better be a roof over gray hair and a stout hearth propping up bloodless heels.
I’ve chased a thousand things I called after by tomorrow and promise and please.
I used my ideals like a carrot on a string to avoid being caught up to by so many things:
today, acceptance, settling.
There is a woman across the hall doing her damnedest to put up with me.
Whatever I have ever picked up, I have also let down.
Apology has become like a second language to me.
I have learned the differences between sorrow and sorry
are more difficult than ow or why. One is seated, settled, done, erasing.
And the other is chasing, searching, anything to keep from facing.
I have learned, the hard way, the least productive use of the word yes
This little mountain.
He will know where he is going before he ever learns where all he was.
Held fixed within a body with legs. Static. Sitting still. Car seat. Buckled in.
Seventy five down eighty one.
Running away from home again.
Rooted like water.
To nothing, nohow, not ever.
Falling into beds like snow.
Royalty raining over drought plagued nations.
Four tires rolling.
Strapped to a back. Strolling.
Don’t just put a pin in it. Go bowling.
Move. Make it tonight.
Between parental continents.
Mountains arise. This one too. And soon.
We’ll see him like we never have before.
Being young feels like hunger.
People look at you like an invasive pest.
Until about twenty five.
When you protrude from that self absorbed,
emotionally dense cocoon, and for once,
people can stand the look of you.
Some of them may even smile,
spending entire lives in denial,
they ever put pesticide on butterflies.
I do a lot of stuff the hard way, stupidly. If I were you, I’d be careful about competing with me. I became a champion crawler long after I had already started to walk. Walking feet into miles when I could have been sprinting. And now, quicker and more surefooted than ever before, I’m at work practicing sitting still. Just to see how it feels. And why, out of all the many paces of my life, does this one seem most impossible. Perhaps it’s the only one no one prepared us for. Never received my warning how growing old can be so forlorning as to cause paralysis to perfectly healthy bodies. Frozen, mid-autumn, seventy degrees, locked knees and held breath. The end is a breeze, a blade, a fire like the fire we build to heat our homes. You crawling, walking, sprinting, are its legs. You carry it. Without you, these objects sit unmoved. Whether it’s something you came up with on your own, or if you were shown it, it helps to own it. Like the hard way. Like stupidity. A thousand reasons why no one else in the world does it that way. And one that keeps it yours.