Sad little patriarch, rubbing his gloved hands together

July 28, 2015

“I have been even as a man that hath no strength, free among the
 dead . . . Shall thy loving-kindness be showed in the grave?”
                                                                                    —Psalm 88

Some days I feel as old as father Abraham,
doddering father of a teen-aged daughter
who last week attended her first “real” concert,
at the crowded Aragon Ballroom in Uptown.
When will my own days feel real again,
the frozen clock hands begin to turn again?
When will this chemical burning in the veins
stop, and hope, perhaps, be recompensed?
I wear this long wool coat against the cold
that hurts me, covered with two scarves,
my face covered to avoid any feeling
of cobwebs, with their every thread feeling
like a tiny razor blade slicing the skin.
There is no ounce of benignity in this feeling.
Maybe that is why the winter mask,
last week found at Target, most accurately
resembles a terrorist accessory, all black-
hooded with eye slits. Were I to wear it,
I would appear on campus like an ISIS
recruit, no doubt a proud servant
in his mind, clouded by the violence
of the mission and sentence he honors.
O the necessary horrors, those airstrikes
occurring in the body’s battleground, leveled
at the cells. If I were to wear the black hood,
guise of a hangman (not the one hanged),
I fear that campus security would target me,
bucolic space locked down in emergency
protocol. That’s all I would be: self-terrorist,
strapped with the various wires of my sickness.