When I created this prompt, I’d had a conversation with a dear friend about aging, about coming to the end of our lives. She called it going home. I remember thinking how we are always headed home. Hence, the prompt. I’ve never liked the expression: old age isn’t for sissies. Like I have to toughen up for the old age journey. What if I simply walk a little slower so I can ponder each new frailty as I head home? Why not head home gently?
WE ARE ALWAYS HEADED HOME
It started in my ear.
every time the weather changed
or the pollen count soared.
“What’s the matter with you, my dear ear?
You’ve never backed up before.”
Not even the sound of summer cicadas, which are
very loud, by the way.
The doctor directed me behind the counter
to pills with impossibly long ingredients
to actively drain the canals which filled again and again.
Not romantic Venetian waterways, mind you
these were of the Mississippi delta sludge variety
muting every conversation up river
on porches and stoops and dance floors
even in bed ear to ear with you.
“What’s the matter, dearest ear of mine?
What are you whispering? Or shouting at me?”
I wonder if my ear flusher is simply worn out
I wonder if this fluid will noiselessly rise in my body
Up and up and up
Until I drift out to the sea.