The Old Man/A promise for tomorrow

I met an old man once

and he’s been haunting me ever since.

His clothes are black, cut in sharp,

Puritanical lines that slice the skin.

His beard slavers down his mouth and his jaws,

like Walt Whitman with rabies.

His eyes, though, are the worst.

Two pieces of the dullest aquamarine

and as hard as the stones

he throws at me.

“Dance, you bitch!” He cries, pummeling me

left, right,

front and back.

He has an endless supply

of stones in his coat pockets,

as I have been quick to learn.

Nothing can halt his relentless rain,

so I do what he wants.

I waltz, swing my hips,

pirouette, and fox trot

until breath is a memory

my lungs are holding onto

even though they know

it’s never coming back.

He doesn’t stop until I think he wouldn’t

ever tire of my hideous dancing.

Even then he doesn’t quit.

Breath and my lungs could

reunite for a moment

and he’d be back.

I’d look away from his eyes

and be caught in his avalanche again.

He’s over my shoulder now,

in my gut, in my head,

pounding and scratching and kicking

over everything

I’ve tried to safety pin back together

since he last intruded.

He thinks he’s won

but he doesn’t realize

that my feeble arms

aren’t just made for dancing.

He knows me, this old man,

and I pray

he’ll never know you.

 

Someday I will see

the road I’ve traveled

falls, pit stops, U-turns,

tire marks, and lost fluids

all included

and not be ashamed

or unafraid.

Until then,

my grip will never loosen

on this steering wheel

though my shoulders ache

and my hands

are so very tired.

 

Yesterday was my highest percentage of likes in one day. Thanks to everyone who’s been on this poetic journey with me so far. Ya’ll rock and I hope you stick around for what’s to come.

 

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