The Thing Is

You’ll do more than just survive.
A father will thank you
for listening, for saving his life.
You’ll always eat a little too much
at Thanksgiving dinner.
One day, you won’t fit into your favorite jeans anymore,
but you’ll find a more flexible pair.
You’ll always feel a little sad in July.
Your skin will droop
and you’ll find more white hairs.
You’ll crash on your bike cruiser at the farmer’s market
trying to avoid a pigeon.
The unthinkable – your dogs will die –
and you’ll get another, a black and white mutt
and she’ll make you smile.
You’ll always wish
you had caught that perfect shell
washed away by the Kihei tide.
You’ll never pay off that credit card.
One day the hammock of your memory
will unfasten
and your pockets will grow holes.
The curling iron will leave a permanent scar
on your neck, like a hickey.
Your father’s death will be the hardest.
Things will never stop changing.
It will not matter so much
that you do not have great hair.
Your husband won’t ever let you get a cat.
One day he’ll leave you for death
and the thing that took up so much
of your time, of your body
like a giant glowing moon
will burn out, leaving its ashes.
You’ll learn to believe
that he really does love you.
You’ll get pimples all your life.
You won’t always be so hard on yourself.
Someone will forget to cover the hibiscus,
and your favorite plants will be lost to frost.
You’ll dig up their fading roots, shaking out cool dirt
like stones from your shoes
and miraculously,
one will grow back and bloom.

Katie Gleason is a social worker, counselor, poet and teacher living in Arizona. She is Master student of and workshop teacher for The Writers Studio Tucson. Her work has appeared in Gnarled Oak and O-Dark-Thirty, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now inhabits the desert with her husband and two greyhounds.

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