Even the shadows surrendered
to the darkening descent
of the moonless, starless night
but not the katydids and crickets.
They chanted and chirped without
restraint or discernible concern
for how these cooler, lengthening nights
would impact them.
I knew these were signs of an impending frost
and their imminent death.
But, did they?
I turned 40 earlier this year and some may say
I’ve entered into middle age,
but how do we know the marker of middle
without looking back at it from the end?
We may not know when it’s our final year,
month, week, day,
Beginning. Middle. End.
Language can trick us into believing
what may not be true.
I don’t know where I am on this timeline.
I’m well past the beginning
but am I heading towards the middle?
Am I there? Have I passed it? Am I closer to the end?
This not knowing compels me to live
with such purposeful agency that at times
I may appear rash, but I’m no fool.
Death is indiscriminate and I refuse
to live with a false sense of impunity
and submit to inertia’s stultifying speed.
See, I’ve been there before…not dead
but wilted and living life like a tedious chore…
back then… closer to the beginning…
So much life was lost but thankfully
Reinhabiting life has taken me a while
and some serious grit, but this is why
I won’t hush desires, postpone possibilities
or ignore the clamoring call to create.
What’s coherent for me
may be confounding for you.
What I’m trying to say
is when death arrives,
we’ll all be forced to leave
some unlived life behind
the question is
- Lauren Taub Cohen