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  • write4hire



Something opens our wings.


First isolated in a South Carolina ICU,

later confined in a second story

bedroom, Spanish moss swaying

outside my window, I didn’t want to return

to the streets after I got well, content

to be cordoned off from everything beyond

double-paned glass, a carnival of barkers

opening doors for cheap peeks at salvation

from boredom, infirmity, anxiety, aging,

wrinkles, fat, hemorrhoids, erectile dysfunction,

sidewalks bustling with preachers of death

preaching eternal life, the endless blasphemies

of grinning true believers saying “you’re only

as old as you feel,” sharkskinned politicians

ushering angry followers into a funereal

allegiance with an earthly tyrant and trickster.

So more than two years later I forgive myself

the yearning for an airless asylum behind

the walls of that sweet blue cottage, mind

rotting on television re-runs, old music,

wallowing in self-exterminating memory until

out of nowhere—or at least somewhere

unknowable—maybe the whisper of moss

swaying in live oaks, I felt myself summoned

out of my sickbed, trudging down steps, hand

on the doorknob, stepping from shadows

into blinding sunlight for no earthly reason

other than having survived a plague,

you get to know that each day is not a gift,

as the faithless love to say, but a commandment

to show up, no matter what, the bittersweet

wind in your face everywhere you turn.

—SL, Oct. 2023, New Paltz, NY

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