19: April 2019 - #19 If – to be Finite –

Authored by Bri Onishea

If – to be Finite –

by Bri Onishea

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” -Og Mandino Summer strawberries. That is what I hope I remember when I die. Paring knife. Inconsistent cubes. Banana slices. Maple syrup. Milk or cream. How breakfast was always a promise, even if I was feigning deaf that day. Beginning each moment is a new moment to begin, so did you wipe your calendars clean? All these numbers that govern our when in ticks and tocks, colons and dashes— how irrational. Beginning today, I have lost my footing on a hike, found myself clinging to roots to prevent cliffside tumbling. My body is not made of stone. In so many ways, it is only blown glass. What pieces of me will they collect? What pieces of you? If by midnight, breath has been stolen from my lungs –from yours–, will you regret the exchange of air, suddenly so precious and so finite, words formed of bullets or of shields? Suddenly I wonder if forgiveness would taste less like lemon and more like meringue. If anything is truly unforgivable, or if time+magic holds capacity to transform all beasts into men. Call it naivety, but overnight I fell in love with the 23rd hour. With the way streetlights dancing on asphalt contain the music of infinite late-night car conversations, compositions composed in black-and-white silhouette, but also full color. Freshly borne, skin pulled back until I, too, am skeletal and swaying. But also exposed. To remedy this, invite me over for tea. Offer tongs full of sugar cubes, more than I will ever use. Explain it is the sweetness of knowing we all burn our lips that first sip – it is all I will need to know exactly what you mean.