Thursday, July 12, 2012

by date

as we read the paper
you would point out obituaries
of elderly couples who had died
within tight orbit of each other.
I would nod my head
and say - makes sense to me.
of course they do.

We will not be one of those couples
neither elderly, nor dead within close range.

I was not one of those people who wondered
if I would survive
I knew
with resentful certainty
that I would live.
though I kept waiting

Buying half and half for my tea
I would glance at the expiration date on the carton
saying half out-loud
"I will be dead by then."
Every time
Every time
Every week, buying again,
saying I will be dead by then.

Sometime over the last several months, I have stopped saying this
Have stopped thinking it.
I reach into the stacks
see the date
and think -
pretty unlikely I'll be dead by then.
It is not a relief,
just acknowledgment.

Now, how I can be fine, in the hours before the last calendar date
Fine, even relieved,
until it sneaks up behind me
smashing parts of this body, this me,
veins opened I have not seen or felt
flashing scenes of the soon after
slamming me back to the day
bruised and screaming
that I do not want to do this anymore

the place of retching will pass, I know
it does
The day itself was beautiful, this week
and beautiful
but this is not that day.

the kettle is boiling
tea needs to be made
the date on the cream
just is.