56: scarred, broken, & the new normal (it’s metaphorical)

who writes about turning 56?
it’s no 13, 18, 21, 30, or 50

just a turn to the downslope of your 50s
a concession to 60 on the horizon

If the Lord’s willing
and the creek don’t rise

you never see it coming they say
but it comes leaving you battered in the road

like Myrtle in Fitzgerald’s American Tragedy
bleeding and left for dead as if you hadn’t been there at all

it’s metaphorical you say from the other side of the road
and i hear that ringing in my ears like a gunned engine

i wake now in the middle of the night
my left little finger completely numb

i flex that hand and massage the scars
one red and straight as if cut with a scalpel

the other two elongated Cs connecting joints
making me feel everything differently now

as i press the left hand flat on the sheets
rubbing across the material i touch the new normal

this arbitrary measure of 56 years comes
a couple days past a month since the accident

xmas eve spent in the ER to hear the word fracture
and witness other people’s faces looking at me

having possibly been clipped by Death
but skirted it for scarred and broken instead

slammed into another life against my will
where things have been stolen from me

even words mean something entirely different now
fracture insurance accident metaphor and tomorrow

but what has changed the most is me
it could have been worse my new refrain

who writes about turning 56?
especially walking around in my white man’s privilege

while the World momentbymoment plows over the Meek
to refute they could ever inherit all this manna

it’s metaphorical you say from the other side of the road
cars surging in both directions between us divided

scarred broken leaning on this goddam cane
i know i will never see it coming

but i listen with the intensity of a child
who just learned to look both ways before crossing the road