What if it were a sacred thing to grow old?
If, at 60, you could start over?
You could let so much of your inevitable past
calve off your back, cleave neatly away,
while everything that is your treasure
could hang lightly in a small pouch, sacred,
warm against your heart.
Before you is a golden plain, sunlit,
the infinity of blue.
At the horizon, where earth and heaven touch,
the mountains are waiting
for your footsteps.
Keep striding. You’re growing lighter along the way.
Your footprints will follow behind you.
Grief will try to catch up with you, yes.
Black caves will open, and want to devour you again.
Go ahead, you can’t stop their pull.
You know what it’s like:
Sharp teeth snapping at you, the stench of dread,
Black chains draped around your neck by bitter hands
Your gut, fear-roiled in the haunting dark.
This time, on your knees, you remember
the stairway will appear.
You’ll emerge, pale and shivering,
laughing, too, as the chains melt
into pearls that dissolve
become winds, whispering past.
Your uplifted hands carrying
lightning bolts and green saplings.