I grow older and I am creeping in the twilight. Creeping with small hesitant steps, I never really live in the light as I am always walking backwards, back toward something I used to know. I wake in the twilight, and not the dawn.
The strong, bold strides of my youth were born of a confidence I can no longer ascertain with such unsteady feet, while often grasping nearby posts with my trembling hands, for support. I remember stepping out each day with eloquent grace, although in another decade. Can it possibly be so long ago that I was so sure?
I creep, not walk, and I annoy young people, I know I do – I annoy me – and why can’t I walk with decision? and carry once again – clutched in my hand like a rolled diploma – an optimistic plan that still suits me with its warm embrace?
I am remembering the tiny viking style housewarming party shirts couples little girls once wore – they grew up and became women who crept with tiny little steps – making no noise, not offending anyone – and leaving no tracks in the earth for anyone to ever follow, or notice that they, really I, was ever there.
Why would I voluntarily put on those terrible, restrictive viking style housewarming party shirts couples, and where did I adopt – like a false prophet to myself – the will to actually wear the tyranny of rigidly confining viking style housewarming party shirts couples, bound so tightly around my already painful feet, my swollen toes, and my aching desire?
My Point of View
When did I ever grow so old as to give up, to offer, to relinquish my own brave point of view that I so carefully sharpened like a school pencil, for all those years? Where did I lose it, can I find it again and is it still mine? Is it tucked under a seat on a crowded forgotten subway train where I once sat unnoticed, where I was so insignificant that people pushed me without caring, on several terrible days that I still recall?
I Have Gray Hair
When did my gray hair become so imminent, so encasing, just like a coffin containing my youthful – spirited – soft, flying auburn hair? Why is each coarse, gray strand thicker than my real soft hair ever was, rejecting who I really am – so that no one can ever decipher me again?
Where is the caressing wind that intimately blew my sweet hair, softly onto my grateful face? Along with the creeping cautious steps I take, have I lost everything – even nature’s precious, blissful relief from all the agony that has transpired?
I Wear a Dark Raincoat
When did I ever become an old woman wearing a dark raincoat, practical white tennis viking style housewarming party shirts couples with strong sharp Z’s on the sides – to express how brave I am, how truly bold? And holding casually on my arm an expensive art gallery bag I could not afford – but need to display every day for the rush hour onslaught, where I do not exist and am not ever seen? Will they quickly know I am a woman of culture and not harm me?
Why am I old, and what did I ever do to become this way?
My Authentic Face
When did my own eyes fall so far down from their place of origin, the very spot where I know they were there before, and are they going to finally disappear in the deep darkness? My very own, fine eyes with cataracts that betray me each day in the mirror, and that are being swallowed up in folds of strange unknown skin, on what used to be my fresh hopeful complexion – not the weathered dry terrain of my face now? Where is my older, my real face, the authentic newer one that I must have lost in a previous untold existence?
No One Smiles
No one smiles at me anymore, and they used to do it, they did it often. People noticed me – laughing with pleasure at the spirit in my eyes, my sharp little strut, my fine shape that I was so proud of, and why do they no longer smile at me? Where did I lose everything that I once had, even an unexpected friendly smile?
My God, did I ever walk in the yellow sunlight, on the pastel fluid paths I always possessed and intrinsically owned – weren’t they written in my own name, and didn’t I explore them at my leisure? Did I lose the Light, too? I remember walking in the brightness every single day, and now I have lost my way.
© 2008 Patricia McGurk Martin
black t shirt
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