A Minute Ago


Photo by Amanda Webb

Photo by Amanda Webb

A minute ago everything happened all at once.

A minute ago I came kicking, bawling, gasping into the air
full of questions
and answers.

A minute ago I made my first friend
in a playpen on her mom’s porch
speaking languages we didn’t know.
We’re still friends
because we remember what we said
in a playpen on her mom’s porch
in languages we no longer speak.

A minute ago I was running across backyards and neighborhoods,
with my neighbor, Lee.
Masked heroes, saving the world.
I was Batman. Lee was Robin.
(When given the choice, ALWAYS be Batman.)

A minute ago I was sorting seashells on the beach,
picking out just the right one
for every person in my world
which consisted of Mrs. Wilson’s first-grade class.

A minute ago I was an astronaut.
A deep-sea diver.
A comedian.
A comic-strip writer.
A rock star.
An actor.
And, occasionally, I was Batman.
(ALWAYS be Batman.)

They say life is short.
Life is not short.
Minutes are short.
And life is minutes.

A minute ago I had my first dance,
my first kiss,
my first heartbreak,
my first beer.
I caught my first trout, ran my first mile, climbed my first mountain.
And then I fell down the other side.

A minute ago I learned to ride a bike.

A minute ago I fell in love.

A minute ago I bought a new car.
And a house.
And then another house.

A minute ago I married the most beautiful girl in the world.
A minute later our babies were born.
Kicking, bawling, gasping into the air
full of questions
and answers,
speaking languages they still don’t know.
And a minute after that,
they grew up.

A minute ago I watched my mom take her last breath in this world.
A minute later I swear I heard her take her first breath in the next.

A minute ago I lost it all.
But a minute after that I found it again.

They say life is a gift.
I suppose that’s true
because minutes are gifts.
And life is minutes.

A minute from now my kids will have kids
and they’ll call me grandpa, or gumpa, or gramps, or pap
and I’ll smile
because I know what happened
a minute ago.

And I’ll still be Batman, saving the world in backyards and neighborhoods.

Life is not short. Minutes are short.
Life is minutes.
But minutes are gifts
full of everything
all at once.

A minute from now, and a minute after that
everything will happen all at once.
Just like it did a minute ago.

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