the first thing you lose is the comfortable
story of how much time you have ahead
It’s clothing, a drape, wrapped around you,
Ripped away, you are naked instead

existence is naked, sky and earth,
future and past, in the raw.
Aghast and shaken, you feel at once
the unfairness of it all:

Cruel and cold beyond measure,
beyond measure, because now,
as never before –
you have nothing left at all,

and nothing raced across everything
unwinding at terrible speed.

A white-hot voice without a sound
filled the earth and shook the ground.
YOU WASTED YOUR TIME
YOU DID NOT LOVE
YOU WASTED YOUR TIME
YOU DID NOT LOVE ENOUGH
LOOK AT HOW YOU SHOULD HAVE LOVED

Four faces appeared inside my heart
four faces of the ones I love
The ones I love with all my heart
with each, shame shook me like a rag
and showed me who I should have been
and showed me what I should have done and
Every way I should have loved
those who were my few, and one.

I ached for them, despaired for them,
despaired and ached for me.
somewhere in here, it shifted
and I began to see,

I saw that I wasn’t dying,
I saw that I had some time
but relief was shouldered to the side
by the burning truth that I now knew
from the moment that I thought I died

 

Hugh Miller

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