SELF-PORTRAIT I

 

Where does a life begin?

When does a life end?

Certainly not with birth

Definitely not with death

Some lives never begin

Others…never end

Joy

Love

Both

Belong to the living

He sipped the cognac

I, in turn

Slowly ran the snifter back and forth under my nose

Knowing life

Inhaling life

How were we to know?

Then

As we spoke in whispers

In the dark

His life was close to over

And mine

I

Against all odds

Lived

Walked away

And, am still here today

 

The Coast Guard bugged me to no end

Then called my Mum

And bugged her

“I guy pulled a knife on him on board ship

And he won’t press charges”

Wasn’t the first time

Wasn’t the last

Never was afraid

Never was alone

Predators can smell fear

And if there is no fear

It gives them pause

Big time

Maybe I was just lucky

Despite having been here a while

I know very little

What I do know

Is the people who are supposed to know

Who say they know

Do not know

I do not know what love is

I know it when I see it

I know it when I feel it

But do not ask me to describe it

I think it may have something to do with the not so invisible cords

That binds us all together

 

Death

Departure

After having seen it a couple times

It is unmistakable

Happens well before the last breath is drawn

The oldest sound in the world

Then stillness

Emptiness

The first thing I saw was the top of his head

Brown hair

A little later

They say I cut the cord

I do not remember this…but, it feels this way

In our relationship

That is how it feels

If that makes sense to you

Hark, laughter from downstairs

The fire is warm

Spring they say

Is right around the corner

Have you ever worked mink oil into leather?

Been on a lake alone for three days

Catching salmon

And, then be sad when someone shows up?

But how could they know

I had not been alone

 

Gently shaking the coals I smile

Then look up and out on the winter landscape

I stand transfixed

As I watch the shadows and light

 

Dancing across the snow