Posts Tagged ‘aging


5 Easy Pieces

Grandmas’ hands should be boney and knurled.
Hers are puffed up because her heart is failing.
Puffy as the bread dough she kneads.
Flour-filled ditches criss-cross her hands like
Irrigation tracks on the farm.

Venusian canals meander and wind-
Double-yellow lines laid down by a drunk.

How did you feel when you mixed up the sugar and salt?
We all laughed but did you really feel like crying?
Looking up, she smiled and squeezed me.
“Don’t be silly, honey. Everyone cries when they chop onions.”

(This poem came from the exercise “Five Easy Pieces” by Richard Jackson in the book The Practice of Poetry.)


Mommy, The Elephant Looks Just Like You

There are ointments to treat thin eyelashes,
Inhalers if dust makes you cough and wheeze,
But there’s nothing a doctor
Can do if you suffer
From baggy loose skin on your knees.

You can’t get an adipose injection
Or a quick tuck of the patellar skin;
The fat can migrate
And the slack cinched up tight
Will just bag out again when you bend.

Buy colorful leggings, black tights, long skirts-
In winter do all you can to hide them.
Come summer, my dear,
Resign yourself to bare
The knees of an eighty year old man.


Mourning The Loss Of The Father I Knew

The world is a vampire; It sucked you dry.
Now you’re doing the same to me.
(Somewhere my twin is walking in sun or splashing in rain;
Meanwhile I can feel myself aging like the portrait of Dorian Gray.)
Every day from the same chair I feel your eyes watching me,
Demanding things without your speaking to ask.
Even when I try to sleep, I can’t get away from you;
You bump into something on your moonlit walk to the kitchen.
I open my eyes and there you are,
Floating through the room like Hamlet’s ghost.
Yes, at night- magically- you’re able to find your own food.
In the daylight hours, you’re content to rely on everyone else.
Where is the father I grew up loving?
How could you have let this happen to us?
We used to play cards and argue about religion.
Now mostly our conversations revolve around your pills and shots.
(How did you ever end up taking so many pills?
Sometimes I have to look out the kitchen window
To see if it’s morning or night so I can tell what pills
You’re supposed to be taking. They all run together.)
We took long walks together, played volleyball Saturday nights.
(You were rarely a gracious winner or loser;
I hate playing on either team.)
Now mostly you sit and I catch you staring into space.
Sometimes you’re listening to an audiobook
Then again sometimes you’re not.
Don’t you ever get bored sitting there
And wonder what life looks like from the couch?
Do you want to go try Voodoo Donuts with bacon?
Don’t you ever just miss yourself?
I’m researching alternative medicine to cure you
And behavior modification.
Trying to get why I care so damned much,
When you don’t care enough
To stand up
To walk across the living room
To see where the bicyclists go when they’re past the window,
Beyond the edge of the world
That exists in your chair.


…I’ve Yet To Buy A Cat.

I do not smoke or snort or chew;
I do not go with men who do.
(Actually any men. Or girls either come to that.)

I do not gamble, drink or cheat,
Seldom if ever eat red meat.
(If I do guilt quickly renders all of the flavor flat.)

Only one vice remains for me-
It’s hoarding pens; I’ve 93.
(I’m not a crazy lady.
After all…)


Less Than Perfect

That mean lady
Took it all plus the chair.
If she weren’t so old, she’d get a
Hard pinch.