in celebration of surviving

Two years ago, I started the new year with a poem.

I know quite a few people for whom 2015 simply sucked. Knocked the wind right out of them. Pulled them under and left them gasping for air.

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It came like a blur for us in the winter and spring and then slammed on the brakes in the fall. The adrenaline, exhaustion, and excitement of planning a wedding culminated in the most joyful day of my life on May 16 when I married the Artist.

Things slowed to a good rhythm over the summer, as we settled into my apartment together and either got back to or started work. And then the fall hit us with a devastating wait for my husband’s work permit, something we are still waiting and hoping for.

So I chose this poem for all who felt like they just survived the past year. Sure, we’d all prefer to be thriving, but I like that this poet makes space to celebrate even the surviving.

And there’s always hope. The second or twenty-third wind is coming. May you catch it this year.

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in celebration of surviving
by Chuck Miller

when senselessness has pounded you around on the ropes
and you’re getting too old to hold out for the future
no work and running out of money,
and then you make a try after something that you know you won’t get
and this long shot comes through on the stretch
in a photo finish of your heart’s trepidation
then for a while
even when the chill factor of these prairie winters puts it at fifty below
you’re warm and have that old feeling
of being a comer, though belated
in the crazy game of life

standing in the winter night
emptying the garbage and looking at the stars
you realize that although the odds are fantastically against you
when that single January shooting star
flung its wad in the maw of night
it was yours
and though the years are edged with crime and squalor
the second wind, or twenty-third
is coming strong
and for a time
perhaps a very short time
one lives as though in a golden envelope of light

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