“Zero dark thirty and do you know where your mother is?”

It echoed in the almost night-time gray, heels a click clack and slide stop clack on the icy laden cobble stone. It almost always sounded this way in December, in Massachusetts, off the bridge from Cambridge, to the smooth pavement of the city in Boston along the river.

Where does it start?

Can you feel that point when you stopped caring, when it felt numb somehow? When the prayer you used to grit out meaningfully on bended knee, so fervently, got stiff, got stilted, got – dead. It was after THAT incident; maybe one just like a friend of mine. When that homeless guy murmuring one of his many theories of conspiracy had paused and stopped and came before you. He stood dead in your way with a glint in his murky eyes, like he knew, knew, knew . . . But really not knowing you at all, he came up in your face with breath a mixture of ten years of halitosis, coughed up mucus and indigent salami & mustard on an old whole wheat roll, served up with the redolent essence of four years of unwashed ass and mold.

He misted your face with spit as he said “You, you, you . . . YOU! It’s all about the dollar, you don’t care, we need shelter and something decent and all you do is ignore us or stare down THAT nose . . . YOU!’”

His long, crooked nose edged closer and poked closer still and the smell of toilet gas and mold and shit multiplied by two, four, eight until it seemed to take root. And the rage that lit his murky eyed stare oozed out of him – its puss laden inflamed state lanced by the sharpness of rage. It eased right into you . . .

Your nose filled with the mold and shit and pure aged stink of it. You remember it now, don’t you? THAT when, and remember the texture of the day when the cold grew and the feeling for those you loved lost its color, lost its savor, lost its life.

And remember the sound of the branches chattering with senseless phrases in the frigid wind, and hearing that smoke, scratched laughter, mocking, frozen laughter of impure air mining the air for ice.

Maybe that day, you held it close, and did nothing though you felt so many could go, could die, could stop BOTHERING you, you, you, YOU!

There it is . . . It was cold, this rage, bitter cold, this death and the void of it cried and sighed and whispered for a soul, any soul, any number of souls to fill the crevice. If you looked upon this creature outside of yourself, with your own knowing eyes, from years of living among others, you could have easily identified it by it’s nature. It grew, this chill and spread and spread, fingers spearing and numbing and staking claim to every nerve. Yet, again you would say it was the north eastern wind running you through with this chill.

And on a night silent, dark and still, the cold mass of death had come and made itself at home; whether you give it out or keep it all to your very own self.

You feel it now, the echo of that man’s words; do you remember your last day?

Are you too cold now, to reach for the saving graces?

. . . & this is sometimes how the spirit of death takes root. One of the many, many ways sometimes we carry this like the walking dead . . .

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