from Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles
Last night, the weight of time and age
hit me like a freight train.
Retiring for the night,
she ambled across the room
hunched over like a bear
heading to her cave.
"I haven't noticed you slumping forward like that before. You okay?"
"I do this at night. It's this cancer medicine...and, my foot hurts."
She's cancer-free now
but she carries the scars of battle
like one of her Viking ancestors before her.
We looked at each other for the longest of silences.
A hard-to-name realization cascaded around us.
I still don't fully know what to call it, but a thought passed right through me:
I'm really not going to enjoy living as much after she's gone.
Her face beamed with a sudden smile.
"Hey. I'm okay. Mornings are better. It's only at night that I ache."
In that moment, I saw and understood
why some among the Skidi Pawnee call her Star Eyes.
She carries a medicine of soul-brightening.
I know I will need to kindle the same
for my own impending nights of aching.
(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com
image: Andreas Wagner