Photo by Juliette F on Unsplash

Entertaining Possibilities

Part of me thinks that if I entertain them-
this ragtag bunch of possibilities and worst-case scenarios-
they will not come for me later on,
as if by acknowledging them
I can stave them off indefinitely,
after all, they cannot catch me off-guard if I am waiting for them,
and so I invite them in,
wine and dine them,
commit their faces to memory,
and convince myself that if I look them in the eye,
they cannot kick my door in further down the line.

Some of them will come eventually, of course,
some of them already have,
Lady Grief is a permanent guest at my table,
it was she who taught me that the worst can happen,
does happen,
will happen again,
only fools think she cannot touch them,
that they can put off meeting her indefinitely,
or that she will wait until old age is reached,
she comes when she chooses,
and once she is there,
she never leaves.

Lady Grief has many forerunners,
and there is no telling which she will send,
Death of a Close Friend sits sharpening a sword
which I know would eviscerate me at a stroke,
I eye it and silently bid him keep it sheathed
for another three decades at least,
other cronies are so monstrous
I can hardly bring myself to look at them,
they sit in shadowy corners and watch me
through dark, lidded eyes,
and much as I resent their presence,
I feel I must entertain them now,
lest they turn up unannounced one day.

I cannot keep them all at bay,
Life will not allow it,
but I can lessen the element of surprise,
safeguard myself against the shock,
Illness will surely come…

Lauren Phillips-Freeman

Lauren Phillips-Freeman is a language teacher and writer with a love of words in all their forms. She uses writing to help her process her own tangled emotions.