Home About Us Features Write Now! Submit Resources

Forty-Seven Up

by Ann McLellan Lardas

Today after work, God said,
"Call your brother,"
and I knew which one He meant, so I called
the one I still can call,
the youngest of what 
had been three of us.
Tomorrow will be his birthday,
and, as I once did, he will turn
older than our older brother
ever came to be; no longer forty-seven. 
The phone is cold and hard.
"It's your last day of being forty-seven, so I called to tell you
that I love you,
but also,
what Joseph said.
I had told Joseph, 
'You can't die, you know.
If you do, then,
twelve months, three weeks, and one day later,
I will be older than you ever were.
And, that just can't be. 
So, no. Sorry. No dying.'
And he smiled, slowly
(as he did everything toward the end), and he said,
Three hundred eighty-seven days after I die, you will turn older than me.
You may.
You have my permission.
in fact,
the thought makes me happy.'
And he smiled 
The car is still cold, but my cell phone
has warmed to the task,
as have I.
Deep breath.
I tell.
I add.
"And now here I am, so much more 
than forty-seven,
and now you are facing 
what I faced,
three-hundred and eighty-seven days
after everything changed.
So know.
It is 
more than
that you are going to be
more than 
You may.
And in fact,
the thought makes 
both of us

A freelance writer, mother, and grandmother, married more than thirty years, Ann's work has published in The Christian Science Monitor, Caelum et Terra, and Orthodox Family, among other publications. She is currently enrolled in Fairfield University's MFA program in Creative Writing.