By Margie Keane
Tears irrigate wrinkles
In Mama’s face, trickling
Down, splopping off her chin. “I’m old,”
She says, “I looked in the mirror
And it shows an old crone, but I feel so young.
Where has my life gone? How can I be loved?
With my grandchildren I feel loved.
They make me forget my wrinkles
Because they treat me like I’m young
their vitality trickles through my vein
but that rotten mirror!
Why does it show me so old?
How can anyone love this old
Wrinkled face? I can’t even love
It. When I look in the mirror
I see crepe-like skin, moles, wrinkles.
Outside my youth seems to have trickled
Away yet inside I still feel young.
I look at her and tell her to me she is still young,
That to me, she’ll never seem old.
She talks of my father whose life trickled
away in cancer cells. “At seventy he still wanted to make love
But by the time he shook out the wrinkles
He forgot what he wanted.” She says I’m a mirror
of him. I tell her life itself is a mirror,
and her eyes reflect the young
person lurking behind her wrinkles,
they are the chronicles of her life, not of old age,
I see creases from laughter, marks of love
I leave her then. I feel a dampness trickling
into ditches beginning in my face, trickles
trapped in tiny creases. I look in my mirror.
My husband stands behind me, looking at me with love,
and I cry. Not for my mother, no longer young
but for the two of us. We’re growing old.
Laugh lines? Worry lines? They’re wrinkles!
I say “Let’s not let our lives trickle away. We’ll
be young always. We’ll shroud the mirrors showing
us old and make love among the wrinkles.
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