A rusted out abandoned car, overgrown with weeds
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

The World Ended When I Was 17

And then again when I was 71.

EXISTENTIAL THREATS, 1968, AGE 17

  1. Night terrors.
  2. Mother was waiting up, when I walked through the front door an hour past my curfew.
  3. My history teacher offered me an extra-credit writing project, because he thought I was smart.
  4. The vice principal busted me for my too-short skirt.
  5. Parents possibly finding out I ditched school to see George McGovern campaigning in town.
  6. Parents possibly finding out I didn’t apply to any colleges.
  7. Forgot my lines in my scene for theatre class.
  8. An offshore drilling disaster covered my neighborhood beach in Santa Barbara with an oil slick.
  9. A popular boy, who had one thing on his mind, asked me to the prom.

EXISTENTIAL THREATS, 2022, AGE 71

  1. Night terrors
  2. Another book insists on being written before I finish the two I’ve already got going.
  3. My car engine shuts off while I’m driving.
  4. The possibility of my critique partner replacing me.
  5. Waking up to discover I still work at the UC Santa Barbara library, typing overdue book fines.
  6. Flashing lights in my rear view mirror.
  7. The Missouri thunderstorm I’m caught driving through turns into a tornado.
  8. Talking too much.
  9. Not speaking up.

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