THERE IS FIRE DOWN BELOW

Today, it rained for the better part of the afternoon,
and sitting by the window feeling particularly bland,
I started slowly counting backwards
from the larger to the smaller,
the moments of my life reticent:

the alarm clock going off
to the night before
and the food I should not have eaten;
to the holidays
and birthdays
and family reunions;
to the button downs and silence
from messy hair and loud music;
to the friends I used to have
and the man I should not have loved
and the girl I should not have thought to love
and the ones who I’ve remembered to forget;
to the moment I learned how to ride a bike
to the moment I fell off, cracked my teeth and haven't ridden since;
to discovering color and numbers:
that red and white made pink
or that 100 had another digit after 99
and would take 899 more friends to push him over the edge;
to the thin line between the should and the should-nots
and at what point, I wondered, that I had become unaware.

With a little sigh,
my dog laid his black bristled head on my knee
and helped me — like good dogs do — 
gently let go of this halcyon catastrophe,
giving me permission to listen as it washed away,
waiting maybe for a “good boy”
but that, I’m afraid, would be too much disappointment
against the slow and steady rhythm
of it all coming down.

 

 

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