Bent old woman, past
all youth, her been-
there- done-
that — sufficient.
teach an old dog new tricks, you
know”, I know, everyone agrees
with a shrug.

All things are best left
exactly as growth and evolution left
them and once maturity has been reached
there is no Hope of newness.
“We must
freeze-dry our flowers, my children,” she says, “glOry
in the supple past, and hang on, by tooth or by claw
to our habits, our habits,
our habits…”

}Maneuver, arrange, divide soul
from soul{:
rather than reach for an honest,
sober vision of glorious age, she lapses
into neglect and well reasoned defeat:

“I’m afraid these rheumatic joints
have all they can do, Love[, I’m afraid.

I’m afraid]…”


Her face is marred, not
by the lines time saw fit to place there,
but only by veil upon veil
of deceit drawn between her face
and the world, lessening her vision of
what is, her action now
by rote along a narrow path, her speech sharper, her heart
in a dark, airless

She is not marred by lines. She merely
(from beneath those protective veils) laughs
in God’s face, like

c. Mary Kathryn Gough
9/23/08 train back from blackpool / edit: nov 23 2010 10.17 pm bckhm / edit: 22.4.12 9.53 pm wales /edit: 12.july.12 12.11 am wales

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