Sunrise glow: I’m not really working.
Throw a cup of scratch to the chickens,
chase dogs down the brown road. Water froze
overnight so I haul buckets inside to thaw.
Bullheaded dog stretches and groans.
He becomes a statue in the sun, standing
guard for his siblings racing the hills.
Tail whipping only when I turn to him
and smile. My hands might crack in this cold.
Mountains rise to form the edge of my town,
boasting new snow. Did they push slowly
into the clouds or spring forth from crust,
violent? A baby grows slowly then erupts, too.
Grooves are etched deeper around my eyes
but these mountains are still young.
Me… a long time ago.
Funny how time can be wasted, killed, spent, or saved–
Amazing how time can stretch, plump, wrinkle,
distort, wizen, make the most innocent jaded–
Sometimes time softens the blows.
We live by it.
We try to beat it,
but in the end:
time takes us all.
Long ago I captured the porcelain visage
reflected in a store mirror, sealed the sharp
contrast of eyelashes against cheek in a stop bath,
fixed her fast in smooth paper. Almost permanent.
Now she gazes at me defiant and innocent, pouting
as if to ask why? why do you keep me here?
And I have no answer, can only offer up the aging
backs of hands, the tarnished veins in my wrist.
I suppose I wanted to keep a piece of my youth.
Photo from bobvila.com
I came to his office in the morning, mottled plants breathing
stale sunlight, parched in the absence of dew.
He told me of his life and the travels he wished he’d taken,
crusty dreams now buried, justified beneath the job, the kids,
the wife I don’t wish to hear about.
We talked, or rather, I listened, and nodded, and quietly scrutinized
middle age and how it frightens people, makes them feel they must
prove their merit to the young. I vowed I would not place a value
on his head like a barcode containing all the necessary information
about the product.
The clock regarded us impatiently. I shuffled my belongings to announce
my departure, rose hesitant, and caught his gaze for a second too long.
We are always aging, always making mistakes. I ought to be a green fern
frying in the sun, so pleased with the warmth that I ignore the
way my fronds wither, the way my color seeps out of me and into the earth.