After an Illness You Become Cautious
After an illness you become cautious,
observing the sage brush buttercups
on the muddy path, grateful for
the clothes line, the washing machine,
knowing you have too many things,
clothes, books, shoes, furniture,
photographs, emails on your computer,
but you cling to them anyway, all the while
hearing Thoreau's voice, “Simplify, simplify,”
and knowing it would free you.
But for what? Just more loss?
You see the tiredness in his eyes
and know yours mirror his and
how much time is left to either of you?
It's like figuring out the monthly budget,
what time you have, what you owe,
waiting for, expecting the emergency
when there's none left. Oh all that
abundance of life and choice you
accepted as if there was no cost.
After an illness you become cautious
like a treasure hunter sifting through
the sandy minutes, dusting off the metal
shards of time together, feeling the light
dapple you as if you were a leopard in
a jungle created for your life, and
you bask in the febrile air, alert
to when you will leap up and pounce
on some ineffable gift that you knew
though distant was always there.
~~ Pat Maslowski