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Volume 2, Issue 1
Spring 2006:

Keeping Watch, September 2003

Susan Hartung

Cell 2 Soul. 2006 Spring; 2(1):a3

Morning questions, evening weariness
come close to meeting in the middle of days.
Months now of uncertainty,
new primary or metastasis.

One says surgery, to save your life.
Another says no, that mass is scar,
radiation killed the cancer.
Let's watch. Not typical.
I seek information, risk drowning.
Nothing beyond engages.

When even the approaching hurricane
could not stir this dulled spirit,
I heard on NPR that this 14th day of September
is the one hundred and sixteenth birthday
of the world's oldest living woman,
Kamato Hongo of Japan,
who sleeps for two days and stays awake for two days.
Maybe she's only 58, said a friend when I told him the story
and we laughed because of the dumb logic
and because we are friends.
I looked to Google and learned that
Kamato Hongo slept through her 115th birthday.
She's down from two or three glasses of sake per day to one,
presumably on days when she's awake,
though she can eat in her sleep, I read.
She eats natural unprocessed foods,
snacks on unrefined brown sugar.
Her hands move purposefully, gracefully in dance.
Her mind was clearer last year than now.
Her advice: Don't mope around.

The next day, walking a country road bracketed by trees,
I heard the whirring of a helicopter and, curious, looked up.
It was not the copter that flew into the small open space of sky
but a turkey vulture — a flock nests north of town —
and I laughed again, from surprise, and because I could say,
Go. Go away. I'm not dead yet.

And today, the morning glories
that didn't bloom all summer
produced a deep red blossom on the vine
climbing the green porch.

Fear is never the whole story.

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