How to Avoid a Holiday Heart Attack

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Contributor: J. K. Durick

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When it knocks don’t answer, pretend that the knock and nudge of it
is some plumbing thing that needs your attention, but not right now.

If it’s under the tree, ignore it, like the scarf Aunt Martha always sends
Or the Murphy’s fruitcake, or the three wicked candle Curtis dropped off.

If it’s gotten into your stocking, up there on the mantle, hand it off to
whoever might mistake it for theirs, deception in some cases is okay,
at least for the day, this break in the somber business of pressure and
pulse and pills, this day off from diet and determination and dying.

Avoid indulging in the seconds and thirds of the things that make the day,
stay away all day from anger and joy, then melt, blend into the scene,
become a bit of bland background for the others to ignore, don’t worry
about your gray face or shortness of breath or the pain in your right arm.

Cold sweat and lightheadedness just add to the holiday feel of things,
the pressure in your chest is just another restless guest doing his best.

Dismiss caution, grab a shovel and head out for the mouth of the driveway.
Even at your age you can clear it faster than any kid can or ever could.

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J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Black Mirror, Deep Water Literary Journal, Eye on life Magazine, and Leaves of Ink.


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