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I often wonder how it would have been

if I hadn't reached this age and instead died like my mother at 44.

I kept dreading that 44th year of my life, and holding my breath

as it finally approached . . .  but then it passed, like the eye of a storm.

Ah! I was safe from the curse I'd fantasized, and my life would go on!

I could cut another thread from my mother's vest, resigned to the

fact that God had sent me a reprieve.

None of us realize how glued we are

and always will be, to the story of our lives

and the narrative we've memorized and regurgitated

time and time again thinking, like the Ten

Commandments, it was carved forever in stone.

But even stones change over time, as the rains pour

and ocean waves pound hard through the years,

smoothing and changing their surfaces once jagged and rough.

And so it goes with the superstitions of my Sicilian upbringing.

They've lost their hold on me; smoothed over and pounded

by my time-healed wounds. 

I am Me, and this life is my own. No one to blame for the roads

I chose to take. My past and its memories are mine alone

and so is my future. Like the marks and spots on my aging skin,

my surface has been altered much since that 44th year.

What's inside this heart and soul though, is a flame still burning,

never changing, since before I was born.  It's fueled by the love

of those I cherish, the Gifts of my life and the God who knows my name.

Joanne Cucinello   2015