made it

i received a dollar bill recently.
someone had written on it.
“made it, 1/1/2009. mom.”
hard to say how i felt.
in that moment, it was like graduation day,
a sudden suspension of obligation.
at once regaining sight of the horizon
and drowning in the imperative
of the present moment:
swim, swim, swim.
someone surfaced, thought of their mother,
wrote it down. and then made for shore.
or like the time chuck came
home at last from the hospital
(at last):
everything suddenly paler
but harder. happier, too.
fiercely happier. we all felt it.
we knew. at least we had that:
we knew, we didn’t have to wait anymore,
and death could be damned.
he was still headed that way. didn’t matter.
the whole world was headed that way.
it’s just that we knew
it wasn’t happening now.
not yet.
that’s all it ever is:
a reprieve, an opening,
a pause.
without warning the guns fall silent.
the children chase one another in the yard.
your neighbors are friendly.
your old lover writes you.
classes are over.
the hard times
have ended.
the dark flight from foes,
the horses nearly spent,
followed by sunlight through green leaves.
before it starts up again,
leave a memo: made it.

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