I’m winding down
like a monkey
clashing cymbals off the beat.

They flash and glimmer in the light,
still ring truly as they touch,
but there’s a looseness in my gut,
a crankless tension lost to breath.

this new awareness,
a shifted perception born of counted steps.

Recognition formed from views,
aft and fore,
seen in calculations taken in solitude.

A darkened cuff
and bones beneath the cloak,
some pale and shining brow
quickly glimpsed
between familiar strangers passing by.

An acquaintance of
blank stare and sterile grin,
no more fearsome than in the
days of taut springs and bouncing pace,
merely more apparent.

Ever present now,
with a knowing nod,
an empty wink,
intimate affections
tossed my way in offhand greeting.

I’m winding down.

I carried my son on my shoulders,
heard my daughter
laugh as leaves rained around us,
watched my wife grow strong
and find her stride.

I want to trace
the ungrown lines on her face,
take a father’s place behind the bride
and know the pride that accompanies
walking beside a man who’s outgrown me.

These are my horizons,
desperately precious
because I’m winding down.
I drive the pulse and keep in time,
but not alone.

At the edge and by the side,
a thankless guest
counting tics and pops,
aware of the final turn.

I’m winding down.