The Romance of Middle Age


Now that I’m fifty, let me take my showers
at night, no light, eyes closed. And let me swim
in cover-ups. My skin’s tattooed with hours
and days and decades, head to foot, and slim
is just a faded photograph. It’s strange
how people look away who once would look.
I didn’t know I’d undergo this change
and be the unseen cover of a book
whose plot, though swift, just keeps on getting thicker.
One reaches for the pleasures of the mind
and heart to counteract the loss of quicker
knowledge. One feels old urgencies unwind,
although I still pluck chin hairs with a tweezer,
in case I might attract another geezer.
Poem copyright ©2009 by Mary Meriam, whose most recent book of poetry is The Countess of Flatbroke
(afterword by Lillian Faderman), Modern Metrics/Exot Books, 2006. Poem reprinted from Rattle, Vol. 15, no. 2, 
Winter 2009, by permission of Mary Meriam and the publisher.


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