Saturday, January 17, 2015


this morning I had a cold
a bad cough a slight fever
still I dragged myself out of bed
and started the day
the habitual chores that need doing
the rituals that need repeating.

and I wondered at my father
all those years ago
how he awoke every morning 
to the stones strewn at the bottom
and unhesitatingly
he gathered them up.

with shoulders and arms staining
sweat pouring from every pore
dragging on each breath
into tobacco poisoned lungs
huffing the shallow gasps
humming tunelessly.

the breath gurgled and growled
the heartbeat stuttered and started
tendons popped and coiled
the muscle bunched and squeezed
the calloused hands
with missing fingers.

missteps all but forgotten
but for the discolored slick scars
the thick cracked chipped nails
clinging to the edges
slip a little bit
and clinch again.

each push a gain upward
each fraction measured 
and again remeasured
each cut precise and fit
each nail hammered flush
and set deep.

a moment pauses
and I catch his eyes on me
what does he see there
a helping hand
or a hinderance
a waste of time and space.

night comes
the mirror beckons
his faces stares out at me
silent approving disapproving
I am afraid to ask the question
I know what the answer will be.

jeg 1/17/15

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