I will be ready when it comes this close

If we listen closely, we remember to hear mortality with something other than fear. Not eagerness. Something less than reluctance. The point closer to exhaustion when we simply put down our lives and settle into whatever comes next. Nothing. Eternity. Whatever we believe to be behind our eyes and deep within our ears. Filling our stomachs and tucked beneath our spleens. With something more than scraps of music we’ve forgotten all the words to.

I watch this process. Impartial, impersonal, implacable. March through lives and lives again. I’m not the first to watch this. I’m not watching for the first time. I’m not watching alone. But we’re all staring in different directions and fighting the oblique angles of ourselves.

At the end of all years, I will claim these for my soul: Guitar strings. Wine saturating the tongue with oak and fruit. Leisurely sunrises at the 53rd parallel in mid-winter. My voice, shaded and shaken with too many years. Old stories recovered in threadbare patterns of narrative.