The prologue, of
course, is completely beyond our control.
Some author, upper case or lower, with a meticulous outline—
names and dates, chapter and verse—
drops us into his template for fiction,
and we begin to run, sprint, or power walk,
swinging through trees with boyhood ballyhoo
and stealing kisses that are uncommonly
After unrolling sheepskins and linen with a high thread count,
we become surgeons, bankers, tinkers, tailors
hammering three-penny nails that fix us
to mortgages and mates and babies mewling.
Life whines like thread running through a spool
or the reel of an angler who has flirted
with a tarpon run amok.
Shakespeare, now professor emeritus at the university on the hill,
laughs as he thinks of the seven ages of man,
who crawls into cataracts, catacombs, and
assisted living and dying.
The backstory having fallen out of the plot long ago,
life becomes a free writing exercise.
We are characters in search of a story,
freewheeling our way through leap years
while adlibbing most of the dialogue.
That’s when we come up against the denouement,
This is when we realize that whatever has gone down,
even hurricanes and borderline wives and chill to the bone,
it is we who write the endings published
in actuarial years
but far more likely chiseled in polished granite stone.