Regrouping, he lifts his chin and peers into the void again. “Not today. They cannot win today.” This silent affirmation does nothing for his motivation. It summons several questions, and they roll around in his skull like mismatched cufflinks in a dead man’s shave kit. “Will they even know of their victory? Do they even know I’m fighting them? How long will it actually take them to realize I’m gone?” They had lived in his peripheral (or he in theirs) all these many years, yet had managed to miss every detail of his heart, his longings, his needs, his pain.
What is that poem? He can’t recall. Something about how people will laugh when you are up and leave you in the dust when you cry? He remembers that paperback book of 101 poems he used to carry in his pocket as a young man. His grandmother had given it to him and asked him to memorize one of the pages for her. To this day he can still recite Longfellow’s “The Day is Done.” “How very prophetic,” he thinks, and the dimple on his weathered face makes a small appearance. He resigns himself to the irony and pulls himself up once more, before he has time to think about it.