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October 2014, vol 10 no 3

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Autumn Noelle Hall

The Invisible Line

the way every kid wants
to grow up...not old

...and there it was, staring me in the face, the sudden realization I'd just bought myself a Red Hat. When I'd ordered it, I'd considered only its bargain price, how nicely it would match my red wool peacoat. Then it arrived, so naturally I fitted it on my head, and with that mere gesture managed to cross the invisible line, the other side of which notoriously threatens bridge games and AARP membership and society teas in coordinated pantsuits.

red-letter day
that script on the EXIT sign
a bit blurry

...but no, not just a line—more of a one-way rabbit hole, and at its bottom, this strange eagerness to claim that hand-carved cane, Dad's Okinawa souvenir, the one Mom hung by its crook from the fireplace wall as a memento of our Vietnam years. It was purely decorative, of course, neither of them ever having lived long enough to use it.

the point
at the end of this cane
still sharp

into the woods
where their paths ended
mine begins

...and in truth, I only planned to use the cane for my PT exercises, to pull my arm behind my back, push it out from my hip, like the therapist demonstrated, in the hopes I'd finally loosen up this frozen shoulder.

never remarking
when I was a kid...
when I was a kid

just saying
my back is killing me
is killing me

...and I swear, it was the butterfly cloisonne that caught my eye on the little box with the brass catch, its rounded corners and compact size, just small enough to slip into my purse pocket, just big enough to hold two types of pills, just in case of the odd headache or stomach upset...goodness knows, one can never be too prepared.

making room
in the medicine cabinet
for medicine