“Two Months Before My 65th Birthday” by David James

David James


There is no lifeboat, no raft,
no deserted island with coconut trees
and fresh water. You can’t slow down
the waves. You swim, you float, you drift,
you dream of the early years when the sea
seemed to obey the sound
of your voice. No more. You’re tossed
                   like a dead fish
back and forth, waiting to be eaten or to sink
to the bottom. You forgot the cost
of living, ignored the level of risk
involved once you left shore.
You’re born wet and then live at the mercy
of the currents, the trade winds, the water warming.
Breathe in. No lifeboat in sight. Breathe out. No oars.

from Rattle #81, Fall 2023


David James: “I write to figure out what all of ‘this’ means, what it’s worth, how to understand a world that speeds by and leaves us all in a ditch by the side of the main road, confused and dazed, after spending a lifetime working and buying and making ends meet, and for what? I write to let go of the unknown in my brain, the darkness there, the questions that live on the outskirts of my inner sight.”

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