At the Falls of Ills

(For Ingrid)

5 March 2023

By Philip Kuepper

Each life can be defined
by how one rows,
by how one uses the oars at hand.
Ills fall, undeserved,
on one. COVID creeps up,
comes neck and neck, in the race,
however adept one is,
then overtakes one with coughing,
joints aching. And, O!, the unholy
feeling of tired, tired, always tired.
One becomes the patient.
One becomes patience itself.
One cannot be otherwise.
One must think healing,
each thought a healing stroke forward
of the oars,
a rowing wide the falls of ills,
a cutting across the whirlpool
with the oars’ blades,
to divide the whirlpool against itself.
One must row one’s body well.

(19 February 2023)

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