A little death or at least no possibility of birth, it gives up on you the way your mother did. First it’s there, regular as breath but less often, pouring over you like a red skeptic and you heretical not to celebrate its tides and hungers, the white folds of sacramental duties. It comes like the moon, beggar you can’t ignore, the home you don’t want but keep sweeping. Your body its queendom and you its only servant. It is not an easy peace. When it’s tardy there’s the paradox of missing it, praying at still hours for the bloat and drain, the mood and queasy pain, elegant smear you mourn, imagining instead an eager pupil, the blink of your secret eye. Today the eggs stand on their heads. Summer solstice, and maybe the tides are up to other elemental tricks. You have it bad at forty-seven. For the first time in months something has jolted that old clock your veins roar with it, your pulse lively as mice. The old friend whose constancy once bored you turned capricious, almost charming, back for a visit, maybe the last.