prime

there was a night last week when
i really felt it, whatever it was:

the strain of looming debt or
the shadows of future conflict.

food insecurity.

the unease of broken norms,
falling behind with an assignment,
obligatory gift giving done awkwardly.

the slow decay of the automobile.

the queues at every grocery,
always saying yes out of habit,
being agreeable no matter what,

you know how it is. it adds up.
it’s the standing ten hours a day,

the waiting for bad news,
the putting down of the dog,
the cheques too old to cash.

feeling suddenly unwelcome.
consecutive bad haircuts.
the stack of unwritten thank yous.

who could have foreseen this season?
in this god-blazing noonday hour,
in the hue of battle, bloodsongs
ringing in the ears and every nerve alive,
in the very pith and prime of life,

i had thought it would be different.

when i am not engaged
on every side with foes,
when i am not so terrible,

so scarred and nicked
with disappointments
subtle, swift, sharp,

come to me then.

come speak to
me a little
cheer.

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