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Solo is not Solitude
~ for the middle one

I am sorry
to be

the one

to hold your shoulder
and offer practiced

artfully authentic

explanations & sympathies
of how it goes, how he went –

but no.

Your solitude
and your age

is neither

a choice
nor the chance

to slash

your way to wisdom
like the dumb determination

of raindrops

pooled first in a flower’s narrow stem,
to a knife-thin ageless rivulet, then a canyon

of water,

bone of Earth split wide after so…many…years.
I can hold your shoulder and tell you, sweetly:

your hope

is the waste of a wish, an inverted prayer
that in a garden, damp from evening air

a love

might alight upon your shoulder
and anoint your neck with scented oil.

For once

be silent, let the silence shake you;
She has finally lost her patience.

For once

in the quiet tired house
let your river-veined hands

be still.

Put down your pen, your dishcloth,
there really is an end to

your end.

Your daughter walking to the gate,
her face catches some unseen light

that blinds –