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thirty-nine and a half

Cassandra Moss

Question: does our time apart 

negate our time together? 

You’re on my mind as I explore my fourth neighborhood in six years. 

It has parallel streets and house fronts with hanging baskets. 

I have no idea how long I’ll get to live here. 

My gently maturing flesh feels like a summer raincoat 

as I age second to second, unstoppably. 

I am mainly life but a little bit of death fading in like a watermark. 

But no worries about the above, only asking rhetorically. 

Because I would never ask anything of another. 

Could not. 

Some people can. You see 

them sitting in cars on Saturday mornings 

in traffic jams leading into the city. 

Silence abounds 

as vocalization is nostalgia 

for when knowing they could 

was the relief of knowing 

they weren’t people who can’t. 

I want to have something pressing to say to you. 

Something that can’t remain within: 

tumorous words that must be cut from my speech organs 

to be found either benign or malignant. 

I want their horror to bring you back here with me 

as that would mark this transition into middle age 

in the coming Fire Age 

with some gravitas, wouldn’t it? 

You see, when I was a kid I played rounders in the park 

and disliked running for the ball. 

I said life should be 80/20 rest to work 

and outraged my friend’s dad. 

He called me stupid. 

He said he’d like to see what I would make of myself. 

I don’t mean to say he pictured my future. 

I don’t think the absurd circumstances 

of children’s futures occurred to him at all. 

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