Meditation on Ageing
(After a friend dies unexpectedly)
I’m vain enough to do double chin exercises:
my tongue out, up, trying to touch my nose.
Nervous enough to worry about leaks,
I tighten muscles for Kegels, hold and squeeze.
Troubled by my lack of agility, I circle my thumbs,
my hands, my ankles, and try to lift my favorite toe.
My husband types lists of where everything is: wills,
marriage license, insurance and hundreds of passwords
And what’s in the safety deposit box: his father’s pistol
his mother’s gems from Odessa, Uncle Nick’s dog tags.
He prints out all the lists in case the computer fails,
places them in the secret drawer with everything important.
What if we don’t remember the secret drawer or the keys to
the safety deposit box, car, house or all our cherished secrets?
Better not to remember. I’ve tossed out yearbooks and letters,
even one from John about how to escape the draft for Vietnam.
I am not Margaret Atwood, Gloria Steinem, famous women
with life’s details needed for their bios. I am everyone and no one.
My father pinned a group photo of all his union buddies
over our basement bar. When one died he put an X through the face.
At the time, I thought it morbid but now maybe it’s wise?
When I suspect the light is failing, I want to let go.
Drive to Staples and shred it: letters, documents, poems
secrets, all for ten bucks.
About the writer:
Mare Leonard teaches workshops for all ages through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College. Most recently she published in Perfume River‘s two volumes re Vietnam and a landay in Figroot.