At Fifty

Michael Bazzett

My children are beautiful. They grow away

from me like a storm-cleaved tree and I am

dying. That’s the only conclusion I can draw.

It only sounds like a hackneyed melodrama

because it is. I cry openly when my son slips

onto his bicycle and spins into the world. We

used to ride together all these mornings. He

pedaled the trail-a-bike, chattering. My little

outboard motor. Then, his own. He exulted

in balance and the speed. It only accelerates,

just as folks say. The days are far too long

and the years flit quick as a whisper. My wife

just smiles and shakes her head at the softness

of this man who’s never held a separate heart-

beat in his body. She indulges no illusions.

There’s no escaping the echoing hallways in

the temple of cliché. There’s a reason it’s built

from ossified bone. That is what we become.

Leaving teeth, gold bands, and maybe one

incongruous strand of hair. But this is not

a rant about death. It’s too in love with life

leaving us, on a bicycle. Strangely tall now,

suddenly handsome, not once looking back.

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