Manuel Barrera Jr., Ph.D.

I am the Serenity Prayer.
My palms are stretched wide open
facing the heavens
ready to receive God’s gifts of
and wisdom.

I am a vintage wind-up toy
that started off with bouncy animation,
but is now winding down
with only a few parts barely moving
yet still hopeful that the
hands of science and divine grace
will give the crank in the back
a few twists
to revitalize motion
even for a short while.

I am waves of memories
that wash into consciousness
scenes of healthy days
when I hit and shot balls over nets and through nets
when sweat ran down my face and neck
and pasted my shirt to my back
when I ran and walked and biked for miles down
familiar streets I loved in Racine, Eau Claire, Madison, Eugene and San Francisco.

I am a road
that rides the surface of terrain
that is elevated and depressed
rough and smooth
wet and dry
hot and cold
lonely and crowded
always leading somewhere
certain and uncertain.

First published in Emeritus Voices, Arizona State University, Spring 2018 (vol. 22)