Beaten back down
after struggling to rise,
I am not used to this constant defeat.
I will confess:
I was one of the blessed.
The sweat of my brow,
the determination of my spirit,
the tenacity of my will —
I did.  I can.  I shall.

Now I crawl to the crest of a wave
only to encounter a tsunami above my weary head.
Mortality smiles with pompous self-satisfaction,
daring me to issue a challenge.
Out of character, I sink to my knees,
totally spent.

Chastising voices ring in my ears,
instructing, correcting, rebuking, contradicting:
“Work harder. Rest more. Pick up the pace. Slow down.”
But I am bleeding life.
Bleeding life,
pooling there on the floor before them.

And when I am empty
of prayers and antibodies
and close my eyes to die,
I find grace

and it is enough.

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