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Breath & Shadow

Spring 2014 - Vol. 11, Issue 2

"Bargain With God"

written by

Allegra Keys

I made a bargain on the corner of Acceptance and Wisdom

When my body was wrapped in the supple arms of youth

But my mind was plagued by the choking grip of truth


My expiration date came with much ado at the age of two

Soon thereafter the thoughts of growing old fled my mind like migrating birds

Sitting on a porch with grandkids was something for everyone but me

I’d get weaker, bones, muscles, joints wasting away


I never asked why my feet would never touch the ground

Every doctor was amazed by the fact that I continued to breathe

But everything comes with a cost stamped on the packaging

Thus my living would require giving


Giving up another day in a future that would have been mine in a different life

Giving up a dream simply because my body wouldn’t do those things

Giving up the majority of the muscles in my youthful physique

Giving up bitterness, simply because...Shit happens

And that’s just the way it is

I “give” when in reality I’m usually being robbed in broad daylight


So I made a bargain on the corner of Acceptance and Wisdom


Acceptance because at a young age I understood biological youth and I were conjoined twins

And I could have spent my whole life allowing denial to cloak my

knowledge but chose not to

It’s not that I don’t fight

Everyday I lose a small luxury I could do yesterday is a fight

Everyday I watch people my age squander their youth with youthful games

Is a fight within myself to keep playing the games I can still play


Wisdom because although I was young in age, I was aware of one fact

Life in the absence of love is a body in the absence of a soul

Love of family and friends was never a stranger to me

But watching life around me had always been my forte and I yearned for more

It commenced with the Disney princesses and their princes promising forever

Then there were the teenage rom-coms where social stigmas never

mattered at the end

As unrealistic as they might be they gave me a taste, a sweet drop of

what life could be


Now there’s the young couples in the park

Perhaps they don’t believe in forever but they believe in the spark

They have midnight duels using double-edged words then seal the wounds

with tender kisses

Their love is as turbulent as their hormones but that’s what makes

it worthwhile


And then there’s the old couple lying in bed

Maybe they’ve spent 60 years together “for better or worse” or for all

Maybe they’ve only spent 6 months together cherishing the daybreaks

they have left

But tonight they hold each other with mangled limbs and leathery skin

And the world seems a bit less cruel

Their hearts beat, pitter-patter, simpatico


Every movie I saw, every book I read, every time I left the house

That romantic love danced in the wind, right next to people or inside them


So I prayed to You

Not for more time, time is what one threads, the end results depends on them

Not for a better body, I was made this way, so with what I had I’d make-do

I told you I didn’t mind giving up time or giving up movement that

most take for granted

But in return I asked for one thing

“When I get older can I have true love? Not normal love but the special one?”


The one that pulls people toward each other like magnets

That crackling spit of the fire

That electric zing

That burning, all-consuming passion

That lovely ring-a-ding-ding

That one thing that everyone spends their lives inadvertently seeking

I even said I didn’t need forever with him, temporary would be alright

I’d survive if all I were left with were the pieces of my used up heart

At least I’d have the memories to keep me warm at night


Now I’m older but according to the world I’m still “young” and have time

But I know my body and what if I don’t?

At times I feel as though my eyes, body, and heart belong to an 80 year old

I know I don’t have an endless supply of strength to give

The sand in the hour-glass will sooner rather than later be bottom heavy

Love and romance is what we’re wired to long for

Please don’t make me give up this dream

The only dream I thought my weak hands would always be able to reach out

and hold onto

It’s the curse of the hopeless romantic


My shoulders are weighed down but I’ve kept my end

Of the bargain I made on the corner of Acceptance and Wisdom…

Author Blurb

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