The Swing

He looked at the clock; it said “12:56”

But it also said, “time to get up

And get these Atrices a break—

They’ve laid too long and need a walk”…

And the clock was right.

Meanwhile, softly in the background

On the old radio he kept at his side,

The Moody Blues were telling him

Something about “their wildest dreams”…

He was almost dead sure he could tell

THEM a thing or three about “wildest dreams”

Dreams always interrupted by pain

From the bloat that had become his stomach,

From the pressure

And the gasping for air if he slept

In the wrong position….

The long nights, Moody Blues be damned,

Where there were storms he couldn’t rise above

He grabbed for his glasses

Rubbed his eyes and placed his hand

On this nightstand; pushing against his body

To rise again and take a walk

To the window and give himself

Some freedom from the prison

His body was becoming.

However, when reaching the window

And it’s view of the bay

Through the trees he climbed as a boy,

He realized quickly and with waking clarity

that he had left them open—wide and airy

The night breeze climbing up

From the bay

And into his memory like the old tire

That still swung in that same wind,

Faded and forgotten

… his memory of the days

Where the sun stayed above him forever

And his laughter filled his soul.

Before he could even realize he had done it,

He had raced into his robe,

Left The Moodiest of Blues

To their “Ocean of life”

Or whatever the hell they were droning on about

And found himself

Outside in that breeze of salvation;

Letting it wrap around him,

Cool and crisp and lifting,

an apple in the Spring

And walked towards the tire in the tree.

It was hard.

He was tired.

His atrices weighed on him

As did his swollen ankles….

Pulling back and grabbing with unseen hands

To push him away from his goal—

But he WOULD have that memory

Though the world and his body conspired

To force him back…and he would not be denied.

Step after step,

Push after push,

He finally reached out his hand

And felt he rough, hewn and bracing

Feel of the rope, battered by time as he was,

But still soft enough

to sway gently in that breeze

And bear it’s worn but precious cargo

With a familiarity that stunned him to his core,

He stroked the old tire, still solid and resolute,

And let the memories of the past

Explode once again into his mind and heart…

Days upon days of swinging by the bay

And the feel of the same breeze

And the kids of the sun on his face

As he laughed and flew through the air;

Like Superman… but needing no cape

To be a hero.

He stood and started for what seemed

A lifetime when a voice sang out

In his mind there in the sweet night;

“Go on then—-what are you waiting for?”

….and he slowly sat and placed

That bloated and stricken body

He had for so long it seemed

Been locked in and which had no key

At first it seemed impossible,

His stomach and and his sides

Pushed back once again at him,

Doing there best to wrench away

This memory…

But this time, just as in the walk to the tree,

He pushed back. And sat.

It was slow at first.

His feet drug the ground

And his head and shoulders

Didn’t want to pull through that old tire…

but it still cradled him in the only way it could.

He took a breath of that apple laden air,

Held it inside for as long a he could

Before his lungs betrayed him,

And then…

He pushed away and began to swing.

It was as if the years melted away

And he looked

with a new set of eyes

On the bay,

The night laid onto it like a blanket of stars,

And just sat, slowly and deliberately,

Gently swaying in the tire with the breeze

And, in that quiet quilt of recollection,

Forgave himself..

Forgot his fear…

Became that boy again…

And let that smell of memory

And the soft, salty whisper

of the bay and its night breath

Fill his lungs with hope.

He lost himself in those moments…

And only until the sun

Began to open its arms

Across the expanse of the water

Did he realize it was time, for now,

To bid his friend and the time they shared

A fond and adoring “adieu”,

And,slowly lifting himself

from that brief respite of peace—

Headed back inside

But with a new vision of the journey

And the small things

That make that journey open its doors

To time and space immeasurable

And that open to the dawn of

Forgotten times that gave strength

And purpose once again to a life

That seemed so distant and so full

Of regret and fear.

It was in that moment

That he swore to himself,

“Bloat or no bloat, pain or no pain,

And through the tears

that fall from me, we will swing again—“

He walked backwards to the porch,

Watching with an increasing pounding

From within bud chest

At the wondrous painting

Being stroked in the sky across the bay,

The old tire swinging slowly

As it’s centerpiece

And heard the words, faint and loving,

“I’ll be here when you need me,

And we will swing together

And love will always flow —

Because I’ll always cradle you”

He turned and went inside…

And from somewhere is did the house,

Faint, distant, and stroking his heart;

That old, best up, and beautiful radio

Raised its voice in tandem

With that old swing and sang

“Come stop your crying

It will be alright

Just take my hand

Hold it tight

I will protect you

From all around you

I will be here

Don’t you cry

For one so small

You seem so strong

My arms will hold you

Keep you safe and warm

This bond between us

Can’t be broken

I will be here don’t you cry

‘Cause you’ll be in my heart

Yes, you’ll be in my heart

From this day on

Now and forever more…

You’ll be in my heart

No matter what they say

You’ll be here in my heart


And his heart swung in the breeze of his soul.


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