The Prompt: Finite Ceatures—At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?
This journey of our lifetime is a one-way ride.
I realized the truth of this the day my father died.
But in the living of it, I forgot again—
concentrating on the present and where I had been
instead of thinking of the future and mortality.
There’s something in a busy life that sets the spirit free,
convincing us that we’re immortal. That we’ll always be.
The many times that I was made to see I might have died:
the time I was abducted and taken for a ride,
the time he held the gun up to my head and pulled the trigger,
as I fell to the street, somehow my life seemed to get bigger;
and I saw all of it at once, spread out there below me,
and somehow though I wasn’t dead, I felt that I was free,
and for awhile, I found it was enough to simply be.
There have been other times when death has had me in its clench:
the time not long ago when that limb missed me by an inch,
the time I nearly drowned when I knew I was gone for sure,
yet somehow, death rejected me—released me from its lure.
It’s just at night when I’m alone that all comes tumbling back
and I begin to calculate all that my life might lack,
and life becomes a tempting peddler opening his pack.
The places never visited, the loves I let pass by,
and all the other things I thought to do before I die
all tumble out to tempt me and I think perhaps I still
have some things to do before I climb that final hill.
I think, perhaps, there’s one more love. One journey yet or two.
So many things that I have left I always thought I’d do.
So I am getting ready—only waiting for my cue.
That’s why at night I lie awake, sometimes remembering.
At other times just wondering what this next year will bring.
If I am lucky, I have thirty years or more till death
takes away these memories and stills my final breath.
Until then, I’ll live life fully and go where I must go.
I’ll follow my own pathway and ignore the status quo.
Instead of drifting lazily, I’ll row and row and row!