Empty Chair

by jimowensjr

it’s hard even when you know it’s coming,

that it happens to all of us,

and that if you’re lucky enough

one day your hair will thin,

and your vision will dim,

and that your skin will become a map of your journey

marked by the scars of your victories and defeats

and you won’t be quite as nimble 

even though your brain keeps telling you 

that you can still bound across any obstacle, cross any bridge,

that you can still slay dragons real and imagined,

and even though you know that you wouldn’t change a thing, 

except for maybe holding your tongue

in those moments of fear,

or frustration,

or dismay,

or anger, 

or misunderstanding

when you said those things you wish you hadn’t, 

and even though you have enduring and profound gratitude

for the laughter, the wisdom, and the encouragement, 

and the protection from your foolish pride

or youthful ignorance,

it’s hard

because even though you know its coming,

that it happens to all of us,

and that you still live in a familiar place

there’s an

empty chair at the table.