When you were ten, your body was a springboard
You bent in the wind, dashing forward.
When did you start to believe otherwise?
With the coming of stiff mornings and anxiety in your belly?
As life crept nearer to unknown trials?
When did you give up believing?
You could again, hold the Fates cupped in your hand
And blow to scatter, seed to four corners.
The white sheet, covers a multitude of unsaid
An imprint of the living, breathing, fear of mankind.
She appears to be a well behaved woman, with hair needing to be trimmed
But like a cake of many layers, the face fit for public consumption, is just wet paint.
If it was acceptable, she’d grab the quiet man, stooping to take her vitals
And craw in his ear, the gravy of her distress.
What would she say? That has not been said before? Who would care? In an ever-ready world powered by rhetoric?
When she was eighteen, she could command attention just by crossing her legs or flashing her eyes
But what a dismal game that felt, a fraud of poker and thighs.
They only paid her heed due to the bewitchment of youth and some promise it told their nether regions.
So often she’d mistaken lust and hunger for love and care
But they were no more than empty vessels, wishing to dock briefly in her harbor.
Her game, if it was one … of fishing for favor, a warm body, a pretend consolation
Left her desolate, like an addict without pipe
All her fancy, dried up and rotten in the artifice of it all.
And then she’d tripped over that invisible and superficial line
From youth, to something men did not wish to define and women morned.
She however, felt relief.
Not to be the party planner, proving her game was fitting in
It was gentler to command less and need no filling or straight flush
Though they say a woman’s worth, must be found in herself
For her sell-by-date leaves her invisible to the world.
And that was true. She did no longer
Turn heads or find men leant in, too close
Instead she was a ghost, haunting the specter of herself
Unsure why she claimed purchase on earth anymore.
It was as if the mic had been turned off
And everyone left the room
For the audition of younger models next door.
She was not a mother and could not connect
With married women who worried their husbands would stray, with downy cheeked baby sitter.
Nor was she eager to fill her face with plastic, just to feel a little of what she’d lost
(Why was it a loss?)
There seemed no path cut out for castaways of normal
No clear direction to take, on the other side of age.
Men … they remained mostly unchanged
Still harboring the illusions of youth, with rapidly balding heads and expanding guts
She felt so much … but who now wanted to hear her words?
Where was an audience for silver haired creatures of Artemis?
If she’d been an owl, she’d have screeched at night
And people would have woken and said; Goodness, that sounds like murder!
Such was her need to share
The preserve of her emotion.
So get up.
Though it has been long since you hopped on one foot
Or worn brightly colored hats, just because you could
And not, for the fondle of admirations dusty nod
But the sheer delight of being at last
A woman of substance.