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Sep 2016
they came
together to celebrate his life

how he made it this long,
he wondered; he saw them poking endless candles
into the white cake in front of him

behind him, his daughter
hand on his shoulder, insisting he have all ninety
instead of two fat wax digits "90" wedded,
a lone wick on top

ninety on June 6, 2016
he gave little thought to past birthdays
he forgot most, except one burned clear
in memory--his eighteenth, when
he landed on that beach

the sands and surf of his dreams for
three score and a dozen years since, eyes open,
or shut tight in deep sleep, he recalled that shore: someplace
between light and dark, between breath and air;
he saw the blood, he heard the cries,
he rememberedΒ his heart thumping

more than that he recalled jumping
over bodies on the beach, now beyond his reach
he could see only vague shapes of them--men
with whom he spent months sharing meals,
smokes and secrets

in all these long years,
he never understood why he received
not a scratch, while those only feet, even inches
from him were eviscerated

now, as ninety lightning years
flashed then flickered before him, he closed his eyes,
to ensure this waking dream was real

and those around him, singing, were not the angels
of death he eluded so long ago
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