Another season.

Like sleeping snakes, betrayals of old

are still lodged deep in my right shoulder.

I walk around half-expecting it to happen all over again.


Some mornings the left shoulder hangs like a frozen wing.

Ever hear a sternum crack like a lobster's back?

Mornings like that and I think of astronauts

upon their re-entry to the earth plane.

It's more pleasing than my own scurrying back

from dreams of twisted metal wrapped around a sacrificial tree.


I swing my legs over the bedside. 

Feet touch the floor. 

My left ankle trembles at the weight.

I think: "I will never run again."


Nearly 50 years here in the Earth School.

I'm still in 1st Grade it seems.

Still trying to keep up with the juxtaposition

of my lizard brain, my leonine appetite,

and the other parts of my neurocircuitry

that know - beyond a shadow of a doubt -

that something more is to be had of this life.


"You should be further along," I hear a voice say.

"You should be out of debt by now."

"You should have mastered something."

"You should have made a name for yourself."

"Why do you keep flailing away in the dead of night;

don't you know more life is behind than in front of you?"


I stumble to the low-table and read some Han-shan Te-ch'ing by lamplight.

I look up at the approaching dawn and think:

'Perhaps this will be the season when I finally come home to myself.'

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern)

sound: from Alio Die, They Grow Layers of Life Within