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
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.