I wake up every morning and there is an old woman in my bed.
She aches and when she stands beside the mattress, she’s unsteady.
Feet that ran after small children in the grocery store,
Hips that held a toddler and rocked wildly in love-making are sore now
From standing up half-asleep
Stumbling to the bathroom
Plopping down, knees stiff, to pee.
Thank God I can still pee.
There’s an old woman in my kitchen.
She doesn’t climb on the counter anymore to reach the higher shelves
But uses a proper footstool,
Reminding herself that some Sunday afternoon she must move
the heavier bowls to the lower shelves and
put the birthday candles and party hats at the top.
The things she doesn’t use very much at the top.
Parties becoming out of reach.
Thank God I can still bake a cake.
There’s an old woman in my yard.
Who decides not to mow for another week because it’s gotten hard.
She’s out of breath so quickly, heart pounding
And the weed eater droops in her arms and slices through the dried skin on her boney ankles
and leaves cuts – brilliant red and bloody – on ankles that used to arch over sexy high heels
or tap her foot in impatience when a board meeting went too long.
Thank God I can still walk.
There’s an old woman in my mirror.
Long dark hair with luxurious curls are replaced by silver waves and white, white strands
That don’t relax. Her hair is more brittle, dry.
Her eyes have become small, surrounding by layers of loose skin and tiny moles.
Dark circles around them. The window to the soul is cracked and peeling.
Thank God I can still see.
There’s an old woman in my head, where passion used to flame,
Sarcastic comebacks crackled and intellectual barbs were sharp
And I knew I was right and insisted on my own way,
Where success once lived and achievement mattered.
There’s an old woman in my head where deep resentments have been bathed
in forgiveness and understanding.
Where coming in first doesn’t matter over putting others first.
Where praying comes like breathing and my loved ones come alive in memories but don’t come to visit.
Thank God I can still remember.