Neighborhood, 7 a.m., 3.01

Dismissing disturbing dreams teased awake by weak sunlight

Unable to take in full breaths around the heavy uncertainty of another

diagnosis ready to be pronounced (this time, COVID)

the way advanced prostate cancer was leveled against

my family of then three, in July twenty-sixteen

and now my tiny family of me plus Jason, daughter-in-law added December twenty-eighteen

So much more inviting to linger

in sleep that escaped through tossing and turning

but knowing a three mile walk will put distance

and perspective into the thoughts crushing every angle.

The pop rock vibe of the eighties, default Pandora fuel,

grates too harsh.

One hour of Wayne Dyer

and 6,4642 steps

remind me to center and return to center.

“You never die from a snakebite, you die from the venom,”

Siri takes Wayne’s quote on forgiveness without incident,

for meditative evaluation, and, most likely,

lamination.

===

Last day of class for this school year. Only

five of sixty

on the roster

did work after Friday, March thirteenth.

Only

one

completed the work

with a passing grade.

A noon Zoom with eighth grade family

confirms many more disappointments

of the same caliber. We push save and

post final grades, anyway.

===

Pulled by planetary alignments

and retrogrades, the story of my past

demands to be rewritten for the sake

of moving forward. Three hours under a

striped patio umbrella, and the Google doc

allows doors to close so others can open.

Somewhere in the midst of evaluating

the eight grader who made me hate myself

in the sixth grade,

her venom still occasionally stinging my self-worth,

a text dings.

“Doctor said his test came back negative!”

My heart cries.

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