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on turning one hundred centuries old

Carl Watson

Today I turned one hundred centuries old, in exile.
And what that means I think, I hope, is: age can no longer kill me,
Nor numbers constrain this inflated will.

Today the shivering mist, it swelled and filled my skin like poison,
Warm like white heroin, a cold-blooded creature’s thrill: Indeed
I thought I was high, but I was only drowning.

And now, instead, I’m swimming in state, though without body.
How is it then I’m nauseous all the time—
An indeterminate sentience without borders to cling to?

Today lightning spelled out across this scarred sky inside,
A name perhaps, but it wasn’t mine,
For I still don’t know for who, for what, or why this waiting.

Today I held out my hand for bread,
Perhaps to feel the simple grace of emptiness, but all I felt was fire,
Rapt fire, and even it did not burn.

Today for the first time in an over-long life of perpetual denial,
I’ve felt these years and found them sweet,
And so I think I have finally given over some bitterness

Of this mortal mantle to a kinder void:
Let the critics proclaim: “Redundancy was this man’s leviathan.”
Consumers of wisdom will however know such a claim

As the derogation of a quest unending,
Indirect, and therefore immense.

Carl Watson is a fiction writer and poet living in NYC. His published works include Backwards the Drowned Go Dreaming, The Hotel of Irrevocable Acts, Beneath the Empire of the Birds, Psychosomatic Life and Astral Botanica.

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