I want to be a little old man.
Concentrated, reduced,
Like a sauce my wife cooks up on the kitchen stove.
Many things go in, heat is applied,
and what is left is less
And more.

There was a time in life when I was many things—
Expansive and full of multitudes.
I’m less than that now.
Where once I wanted to be many things,
I find myself becoming something sharper,
In some ways softer.
I find that I am whittling down to an essential me.

There are people called to grow
Through life, always bigger.
I have attained my maximum size, I think,
And I see me getting smaller,
More focused, denser in my proportion of me.

There is a loss in getting smaller,
In taking up less space,
But I imagine my electrons whirling closer to my center.
I feel the density of a singular purpose.
I feel the mass that comes with knowing
What I am
And what I am not.

For years I chased a whiff of something big and gamey,
Always out of sight.
It’s only now that I understand that what I couldn’t see
Was not me, but something else—
Something hunted, elusive, other.
Because I will be a little old man.

And being smaller, I will be able to go places
I could not if bigger.

And being whittled down, being reduced, being less
Than I once was, or dreamed I was,
I will find a richness and a litheness
That I could not have imagined.

I want to die a little old man,
Reduced by life to my essential things:
Eyes, hands, intents,
And a sense that this little man,
Born in abundance, concentrated by experience,
Flavored by the love of others and that which springs from Deep Within,
That he is enough.

One Reply to “I Want to Be a Little Old Man”

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