I am old

I am an old woman

swaggering in the statement,

my meaning changing with each encounter

not by me, but you who stand in your own

notions and assumptions circling age

like dark clouds surrounding sunshine.

 

We are old

we who have grey, white, and purple hair,

who stoop or hold our bodies in rigid postures

moving along sidewalks and through doorways,

independent, weak, strong, formed, still

birthing new selves, opinionated, open

minded, educated, sheltered, ignorant and hip.

 

We are old. I tell you

you can never know the meaning years have down in

gut and memory banks, how pain becomes your familiar

because it’s there and tells you so still are you.

Magic of age is camouflaged by skin and bone

by reflex, speech and texture, the internal richness

unavailable to your sight.

 

I am old

it is easy to see me as a spunky exception

but I am still part of that decaying of years

and visage that fools you into your sense of what

it means to be limited by our body’s diminishment,

to need your help and patience, once given

still cannot hide the challenge we cause your pace

and movement through your own life. We know this

in spite of how you turn back to us, kind or harsh.

Sharon Lopez Mooney, ‘I am old’, The Voices Project, Poetry Library, available at http://www.thevoicesproject.org , January Issue, 2021

Sharon Lopez Mooney, published poet, Interfaith Minister, spiritual coach