Image for the poem Milestone


I turned 60 this morning—finally
3:33 AM—because I couldn’t wait  
until sunrise to be born
nor calm weather—    
but a storm of magnitude  
beating hospital windows;    
and noisy generators    
restoring power to wards    
I was naturally a second child  
forced into first position  
by the death of a sister    
I never had a hometown  
  nor friends from birth—    
we relocated constantly    
I've done the marriage thing
  followed by divorce, amicably—
continued on my own solitarily  
Now, in the time a leaf hits the ground—      
  that quick! 60 Autumns have passed;    
and, I am blessed, with zero regrets    
That is the power  
  of forgiving yourself for mistakes—
letting go of what you cannot have    
I may pass-over tomorrow;  
  but, I will leave experienced  
having known children—    
  and children's children    
upon these ever-aging knees      
I have accomplished great things  
through protest and advocacy;    
a medical clinic will outlive me—    
  saving lives along the way;    
as will the dental, decades    
  beyond death; skeletal smiles  
testaments to healthy teeth    
historic landmarks will remain—    
their iconic presence solidifying skylines:    
the great Loray and Chronicle cotton mills    
  now family townhomes    
  and festive event halls    
Yet, all of those are just doings  
My greatest achievement  
and legacy is relinquishing control;    
  overcoming insecurity—      
that fear of being Loved    
wholly for yourself—      
  due to feelings of unworthiness    
 dominating reason    
We all know Loving is easy—    
  giving to others natural  
innate as breathing  
But, receiving—opening up—    
trusting another with our truth    
  is difficult to master  
  because it takes trust in our self    
We don’t see it that way  
  because we’re looking out  
toward that person we want  
  amid circumstance we face  
There is nothing I can say    
  that will magically transform    
your heart from a defensive rampart—    
  you can only lower the drawbridge    
through personal experience    
I can, however, sow a seed. . .  
Tell yourself, every day    
  you trust what you feel in your gut—  
balance that with thought;    
  not the reverse  
feeling always comes first—    
 protect your spirit    
 from your mind    
Know you will survive    
  when ( not if ) your heart breaks—    
learn the language of pain  
  it will teach you of red flags:  
    warning, danger, are we having fun  
    repeating our patterns yet. . .
Try again; and, again—    
  try so much you become numb  
until you barely remember    
  red except for lipstick you don;    
  or, matching nail polish;    
until you are moving forward    
  regardless of the pain  
until you’re not choking on rejection;  
but, rejecting instead—    
  regardless who your truth may hurt    
You have an obligation to Love—  
  to be honest above all else    
that you are liberated from fear;    
  air your secrets—forgive missteps    
  trust yourself to survive the worst    
Because you will. . .I know  
I finally turned 60 this morning;  
  and, there is no greater reason to live  
than Loving and being Loved in return    
I wish this for everyone    
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