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knowing on a november night

I know that the friends and the friends of friends who have died recently are gone.
I know, too, that they are nearby – watching, protecting.
I know that my son’s friend who walked out our door today, a boy I’ve known since he was a toddler, is now en route to go live in Portland with his family and will not return. Boxes have been packed.
I know that should he come back, the person who visits will be a young man, reading different books, playing different games.

I know there are words in me – millions – that will never be put down.
So often, they feel frittered, lost, boats that I’ve never rowed to shore.
I know, too, that they are there, clusters of stars inside me, waiting to be released.
Sometimes I know – sometimes I’m just so certain – that I’ll get cancer, that I’ll be ill and grow wane.
Just as I knew – was so very certain – some nights that Ted Bundy or Charles Manson was standing in my hallway.
But they never came.

I know that my old labrador is now ashes in a box in the walnut dresser that was my grandma’s and her mother’s before,
And that each night my cat walks the neighborhood balancing his mortality on his paws.
I know that each day my house sinks deeper into its foundation
While expanding with the possibilities of the people who live beneath its roof.
I know that my children breathe out into their bedrooms while they sleep,
Shedding their 9- and 11-year old selves with each exhalation, becoming people I’ve yet to meet.
And I know that I will always know them, would know them after centuries apart,
That they came from deep inside me – star clusters – and will live far beyond anything I can imagine.

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