fog of war - August 8, 2016s

author’s note:

“What if this is as good as it gets?”
        — from the movie As Good as It Gets
 

HOW AUNT MAGGIE GOT SO BRIGHT

I have a theory
about why Aunt Maggie
(in life, the grumbling one)
seemed so deeply peaceful
when you saw her late that night:

when we are released
from life’s foggy grip
we can grab hold
of what held us
and finally fully see
that blind life—
examine it at arm’s length
so to speak.

With that perspective
I think our aunt might arrive
at the question
I sometimes ask myself
when I’m able to stop
long enough
to look back
with some degree of clarity:

why why why
did I shrink myself
down so small?—
why did I grumble
whenever the cookie crumbled?—

after all, I knew quite well
that every day in some way
the cookie would crumble.

I believe that question
would lead dear Maggie
to an understanding
she’d avoided while living:

she would see the true pain behind
all her grousing and grumbling
and in seeing
feel a piercing empathy
for the person she once was—

an empathy she’d then naturally extend
to anyone voicing small complaint—
she would now see how
they fear to touch
the real wound…

yes, that would explain
the tenderness she emanated
when you saw her in the dark—

that would explain
why Aunt Maggie shines
so much brighter
than she did during the labor
of her sweet and sour life.
 


© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Butterfly Soul: a poetry book

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