1 by 5

Sensing is not perceiving, the radio message is not the success or the failure, the words you say are not the cold limbs on the hill … no, sensing is not perceiving … what are the conditions on the ground, over … I’m reading you 1 by 5, say again, over

If we are lucky, we might be able to fit two or three lives into a box about the size of an eggcrate … those little things that resist the moves and the storms, the silent goodbyes, the months of depression and drinking, the swimming at night

Names floating away from faces … say again, over

I no longer return calls from old friends, I don’t know why

You can plot the stars and stack them like silver coins in your mouth and even though you are not, the little girl still whispers, Daddy, but everything ends badly with your lover cracked open, her heart beating on the wooden cutting board

You can ignore the shark along the reef and hide at night from the lion’s roar, you can outrun the cobra across the green and yell to the boy to bring the iron rake

You can wander the jungle and bank a million, play the odds and win over and over again, run with black, draw with nothing, slow play, cheat … and you win because Grandfather taught you how to know luck and it steadies your hand like an insect under glass

You can survive a crash, a fall, a fever that boils your brain and the coma is a dark angle on parchment that cannot be measured, only remembered like the fires of Alexandria when Caesar rested on his ship

You can do all these things and much, much more, but you will die alone and after the child, of the child, of the child is born, your name and life will be forlorn as if you were something unthought, unheld, and uncovered for the blind … you will be 1 by 5 forever


4 thoughts on “1 by 5

  1. From what I am able to gather, “5×5” means a radio signal is strong and clear. 1×5, I’m not sure.. It sort of reminds me of Comfortably Number–you are only coming through in waves, your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.