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A Life

Hands of praying young man and Bible on a wooden table.

A LIFE

By Geoffery P. Jones

 

Exiled from an anxious womb…

Gentlemen start your engines…

The race has begun… Another face

Among billions… In an unforgiving

Universe that couldn’t care less

About your personal voyage…

And you learn to walk… And you

Learn to talk… And you skin your

Knee on the way to Kindergarten

While holding Mother’s hand…

And then she let’s go…

 

Better slow down…

 

A nun raps you on the knuckles

With a ruler as you drift off in

Sunday School… Your eyes shift

From the blackboard to a girl

At a wooden desk sitting across the

Room… She has secrets and tricks

You can’t quite unscramble… She

Has answers to questions you

Haven’t yet asked… But there is time

For that later… She sees you staring

And you look the other way… And

The game of cat and mouse begins…

 

Strange things occur at ten in the

Morning… It’s early still, but the

Womb is more than a decade gone

Since your jail break… There is

Fear and confusion over matters

Large and small… As ball caps and

Model trains are traded for aftershave

And wet dreams… Things happen

Quickly… Fast cars… Breath mints…

And deep kisses in hidden corners

Of moist rooms with little light…

 

And pretty soon it’s afternoon… And

You can’t believe you got here…

 

Reason swirls and you’re in heat…

And you’re on a couch in a home

Somewhere on Elm Street… And you

Don’t know how you arrived there…

But you don’t really care… Because

Somehow you survived your parents

Best intentions… Where adolescence

Was reproached… And sex was

Deemed a capital offense… You’re

Drunk on hormones… But nothing

Much happens… And you lose your

Spot on the couch as another night

Ends in disappointment… And you

Hope one day… To earn your way…

Back to that couch on Elm Street…

 

And the next thing you know you’re

On your own… You don’t live at home

Anymore…

 

There’s a near miss along the way…

But things often work out for the best…

And then you find her… The one…

There’s no time for second guessing…

You better hurry before she discovers

Your flaws… Then she gives you that

Arresting look and you know that she

Has you dead to rights… There is no

Hope of escape… But you’re not

Running… You want to be caught…

 

And soon your world expands… And

The joy is beyond description… As

You see life through the lives you have

Co-authored together… And of course

There are mortgages and major

Heartbreaks that startle… Rude

Awakenings… High drama… But no

One gets out without scrapes and

Bruises… And the stock quotes and

Box scores will bind your wounds

Over time… You are confident

And strong… But your course will soon

Be corrected… Life doesn’t stand on

Ceremony… It’s unscripted…

 

It’s getting late… Better get your ass

In gear… And it’s time to give faith

Another chance…

 

While time speeds up you begin

To slow down… As you welcome your

Children’s children with open arms…

They are your legacy perfected…

And you find a higher purpose…

 

It’s not quite winter… But Jesus

Christ… It’s already November…

It’s growing colder and darker by

The minute…

 

And you look at each other differently

Now… And it doesn’t trouble you at all…

As layers and textures are peeled back

To reveal beauty that you often

Overlooked… You see essences rather

Than details in her wrinkles and smiles…

Inferences instead of assertions… And

You look to each other for comfort…

Affirming the value of the life you have

Shared… And you wonder… If time lasts

Forever why don’t we… And then it hits

You… We’re only renters after all…

 

You sit on a bench near a frozen pond…

In a park holding hands where once you

Sipped wine in April… It’s December…

It’s 11:59 and the calendar and the clock

Scheme against you… Children ice skate…

Pregnant clouds deliver snow as a

Flock of geese surveys the scene from

Above… And the two of you exchange

Thoughts without speaking… Silence

Expresses much… You share a minor laugh

And shrug your shoulders in acceptance…

But not in defeat…

 

And with hands still clasped together you

Sigh in defiance at the absurdity…

Confounded… Alarmed… And astonished

By the brevity of it all…

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