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.