She Who Marks the Days

counting-days-blackboard-jail-44779816There is a woman who marks the days. Not the days that have passed, but the days to come. She marks the days she has yet to live. All these days she marks, up to the one that might be her last. She cannot know that one. There is a last day. A last mark. But it is arbitrary.

As she lives each day, she removes one mark. She wipes it clean from the slate with her thumb because it is gone. She considers herself lucky that any days remain.

As the sun leaves her at the end of the next day, going places she cannot go, she erases one more mark.

And when the sun circles round to come up behind her again, she watches it pass over, squints her eyes against it, shades her eyes with her hand. She watches it leave her again. And when it is gone, she rubs away one more mark.

How many are left, we wonder.

One day, only a few will remain.

One day, three will remain.

One day, two.

One day one.

And as the sun leaves her on the last day, she will lay her bare arms on the earth, rest her head, and die.

Perhaps.

Or she might go on.

She might live more days. She might count herself lucky each day, and mark each one that she lives. Each day as the sun leaves her behind, still living, she marks that day as gone, and over time the marks add up. Perhaps they become quite a number.

Then what?

One of those days will be her last. She will die.

We cannot know when.

She wipes the slate clean. She fills it full of marks. And as the sun circles round to come up behind her again, she rubs one away. Soon she has three remaining. Then two. Then one.

Then she dies.

Or begins again.

 

27 thoughts on “She Who Marks the Days

    • She does feel a little tribal, doesn’t she? Not sure where that came from. I can see the cave, but not so much much the hotel room. Maybe the sidewalk outside the hotel room. Or the tundra. Thanks, Oddy.

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    • Well, this is about as close as I can get to a real poem, Ms. Dweller. Unless you like poems about hot dogs, or hippopotamuses. Those I can do. Or rather, have done. They might have been awful mistakes, but at least they are behind me.

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      • Oh no, Walt. I think you have an honest poem here — and a great one in the making! I say attempt it. However, I do love hot dogs and hippopotamuses. I might have to dig around in your archives for those. Even if you don’t post it, go for it. In all honesty, there’s poetry in you!

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  1. I’m just pleased with what feels like newfound crispness in your writing, but maybe I’m just now noticing it. I think, as you’ve said to me before, if you keep going it gets better and it’s nice when you can notice it, like maybe when you start losing weight, and I’ll allow that bad analogy or stretch it further, to compare to useless words and getting at the essence of what you’re wanting to communicate. Hey, I’m reading Catch-22 now and think of your satire at times and what I think your taste is, and enjoying it. Hope you’re well. Bill

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    • Thanks, man. I’ve gotten tired of ripping off great writers and moved on to ripping off great song lyrics. I tried Catch-22 several years ago and couldn’t get into it. But that was when WW eye eye was a sacred and glorious thing for me, the Private Ryan/Greatest Generation era, so probably bad timing. Might give it another go. I like that picture Lily did. Back to Germany for you all, soon, I guess?

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      • I’m glad to hear and read that whatever you’re doing seems to be working as I sensed some fatigue out of you last year, but may have just been my oft inaccurate imagination. Thanks for reading Lily’s blog and glad you liked her rendering. We’ll be back in Germany a week from today, passing through France for a night next Monday. And I will be off the wagon after a joyous but dry January.

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  2. I appreciate stories that provide the outline, then let the reader use his/her imagination to fill in the details. I imagine an old woman in a cave, by the sea. And once the marks are all wiped clean, she begins again.

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  3. I am getting a clear image of a person entangled by two worlds. The fear of death and an angst to die. Mixed reactions every time the sun goes down-the joy of not going down with it, and the disappointment of erasing a mark on the slate. Superb piece,

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  4. This is a very powerful piece that expresses so many meanings through good choice of words rather than too many of them. I really like pieces such as this where the author communicates ideas so accurately through such a short passage that instead of an overall meaning there are many little rivulets that can cause the reader to interpret the piece in lots of different ways. Awesome 🙂

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