Age

Comfort in an engulfing valley.
Closeness, with the option of escape.
Warmth, with the choice of
chilliness to cool down.

Laughter, from
the belly of an aging man is
no less joyous a sound than
a baby’s cooing giggle.

Curled into a
fetal ball of safety; the
protective separation of
isolated existence.

Nothing can be
taken away when it
has already been
sacrificed for another.

by Erik Shinker

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Decisions

I can’t get up on my own
anymore, darling.
I can’t support myself,
or you.

I am tired, and scared, and I
see the end coming
closer each day.
I know I am experiencing many things
for the last time, but
I dwell too much on that
fact to enjoy them.

The kids make sacrifices for
us, and they’re willing to do
even more.
But in our stubborn refusal,
we are wearing them thin.

We made our own way, and
we have been strong,
but I am weak;
I cannot pretend to be
anything else anymore.

I am tired, my love.
You can’t keep laughing off
my frailty as little lapses in concentration.

We need help, and we need
to get it while we can still benefit.
I love you, and I don’t
want to disappoint you, but
I’m nearing the edge and we
need to have some
tough conversations.

We can’t continue in denial.
Death will come; that’s inevitable.
When I meet my creator, I want to do so
with dignity;
not as a dusty husk.

I am so proud of
you, of
us, of
our children and
grandchildren and
great-grandchildren.

We have come so far, and there is a
little further to go, but
some difficult decisions remain
before we separate
and reunite.

by Erik Shinker