At the End of a Long Illness

I have seen Death and he is neither gnarled nor gray.
He wears no hooded cloak nor does he hide his face.

Instead he takes on a form of such limberness and grace
And sings sweetly of beginnings,
Like a child at his play.

Dawn lingers in his footsteps;
He says to leave the night behind.
There is no need to reset:
Nothing to rewind.

Old aches and pains,
Rueful memories and sorrows,
Are but in this lifetime,
a set of burdens borrowed.

So I have seen Death and heard his whispered words
to one who already seeks him,
he is but a welcomed light.

Dear Goldish

I won you at a street fair
five years ago
a lifetime ago
before illnesses, deaths, and weddings

everyday, I stopped by your tank
fed you your flakes
every week, I changed your water
and you would be happy to see me

today, you passed away

I’m sorry I couldn’t give you more
than a 5 gallon home
which always felt a little too cramped

you were important;
when I felt all alone
I sat by you and spoke:
“We’re both just trying our best to live.”

thank you for being in my life
if you start a new one
I’m sure it’ll be as wonderful as you were

[Fiction] Mr. Wolf

Little Red Riding Hood

When Georgia was a little girl, she wore a red peacoat with brass buttons that always got a few compliments whenever she and her mother would take the walk from their apartment to the local shops.

“Well, if it isn’t little Hood,” Tony would say and he’d slide an extra inch of salami into her sandwich.

“Well, if it isn’t little Hood,” Jacques would say and uncurl a handful of petit fours from his pudgy chef’s palm.

“Morning, Red.” Sandy would smile indulgently behind her Daily Post and sometimes Georgia found an extra few lemon drops from the candy shop in her bag.

It wasn’t until she was fully grown that Georgia took a stroll into the nearby woods with her familiar rose-dyed uniform.

“I’ve met so many friends,” Georgia said, treading carefully over the foliage. She raised her head and let autumn fall with a grace that stole her breath away. Let the people in her memories slip through her fingers. “I think I’m brave enough to greet you now, Mr. Wolf.”

Travelers

Touch of silver in moonlit space
Cobwebs, darkness, lines to trace
Ages that have worn you well
And lingered in places where they dwell

Smell of parchment worn and thin
Moisture, dryness, and moist again
Rends you till joints ache and refuse
The simplicity of a once youthful move

Yet, warmed by fire and cooled by ice
Fingers that have tempered nice
For touches both sure and gentle
Along thin shoulders just to settle

In camaraderie and love, born of the fear
We hadn’t expressed ourselves to those dear
For we all, travelers, will move on from here.