I Want to Be a Little Old Man

(Editor’s note: Something I’m working on …)

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,
Singular,
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.

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