In line at the station waiting,
None of us knows the hour the bridegroom will arrive,
Nor when we’ll leave the platform or depart the party,
Either of our own volition
Or after being dragged away against our will.

Nearby stands my mother, who is fourscore and ten to my seventy-one.
Due to her infirmity and my illness, our departures,
Though still unscheduled, are surely sooner rather than later.
Will they approximate or coincide?
And, not that such things matter, but
Which one of us will board first?

There is some solace in such uncertainty, at least at the moment.
And being practical as she, perhaps I am, what?
Doing more than merely treading time,
Counting the hours while awaiting my departure?
Studying, for example, German for no expressed purpose,
Other than the pleasure of its precision and the love of language.
I am compelled to see this journey through to the end of the line, yes.
And, with eyes wide open, whatever track there is,
Past the last stop at the last station.

Our intermittent companion, Death, mingling here among us,
Does not intrude upon these reflections,
Nor trouble us with his affairs,
Which will be resolved, all in good time;
In the meanwhile, I feel the rush,
The whoosh, of the temporal flow blow by me,
While contemplating my history and transgressions,
The overriding and enormous now,
And what is yet to come.

Even in such company, we pass this way alone.
And only those who have used their return ticket,
Truly know what the journey’s like.


Photo © Matthew Friedman