In his forty-second year
He drove through lead-white snow
The cold was colder to him now,
And in a few places, there were
Even a few scars, but the pain was
Walked off quietly, no wincing,
And the hunting season opened
The same day every year, just the same.
The kill was the same age every season,
Only he knew that he was older
In his forty-second year.

In his forty-second year
He scraped up rubble, ashes and limbs
Felled by storms, wreckage,
Broken glass, parts of airplane engines,
But no black box to explain the
Details, only the smell in the air
To tell what happened, but
He kept shoveling, clearing the ground
For new construction
In his forty-second year.

In his forty-second year,
He knew he was a man, no
Boy left in him, by the straightness
Of his spine, the quiet nod,
The grace in his turning,
The slow, confident walk
Back to the truck, the ease of
The reach for the keys,
The rumble of ignition
The shift to reverse, then
Drive, the turn signal, then
Out again onto the course
In his forty-second year.        



Anne Babson's work has recently appeared in Iowa Review, The Chrysalis Reader, Southampton Review, Bridges, Barrow Street, Connecticut Review, Rio Grande Review, English Journal, The Madison Review, Atlanta Review, which gave her an International Merit Award, California Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, The Red Rock Review, and many other publications. She won the Columbia Journal Prize and the Artisan Journal contest, and was nominated for both 2001 and 2005 Pushcart prizes.

My friend Gerry survived horrible events concurrently, even one of which would have felled a lesser man.  In one season of his life, he endured bankruptcy, cancer, the betrayal of loved ones, alienation from his family, and he endured all off this without becoming bitter, or cynical or even unkind -- his character is steady despite adversity.  In an era where many men are just big boys who give up on their purposes and intentions the second they are no longer coddled, Gerry is a man, a real one who keeps going when the going gets tough.  May more men become like him, knowing who they are, living up to the expectations of their better angels of their own natures in simplicity in whatever war zone they encounter.



Copyright 2009