7/26 Coming Closer and Closer

Even aware that living my life is not a race, 

I find myself ripe in the midst of watching 

the days playing bumper cars

with each other, careening

and colliding, as if each 

is so excited to find out 

what awaits in the soon 

to be anointed eighth decade. 

that they just cannot wait. 

The demarcating number 

seventy is exponentially 

more startling when written 

as its numeric equivalent, 

70. Let that number reverberate 

around the synapses of your brain. 

Trust me, I know what that 

exercise might reveal, 

a mathematical equation 

that asks, “when can 19 equal 70?” 

You see, my true age has 

for all these years remained 19.

Nothing more, nothing less.

[art: Kosmic Kabbaha by David Friedman]

Perhaps my cardiovascular surgeon 

knew a thing or two about the manifest 

importance of the upcoming eighth decade. 

Eight (and there’s that eight again) years 

ago, when the kind and wise physician 

took the rib splitter to crack my sternum 

open to reveal my beating heart, 

struggling to keep up with 

the main descending artery 

one hundred percent blocked. 

For once the single bypass 

was performed and as his hands made 

quick microscopic moves 

toward my aortic heart valve, 

he true extent of the damage there was revealed— 

despite twelve years of echocardiograms 

and the cardiologist joking, “we will just 

crack you open when your eighty and fix that.” 

It was only after the heart 

surgery finished, 

that the doctor explained to my wife 

that my heart valve was in such bad shape 

that I would have been dead within six months 

to a year, had I not received a biomechanical 

heart valve replacement. 

Resting more comfortably now 

in the approaching eighth decade, 

and recalling the gift of life 

given eight years ago,

I feel more deeply the import of this 7/26. 

With a heart wide open, 

I am ready for the moment 

to welcome and embrace seventy.    

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