By Margaret Zielinski

 old man

You run for sheer pleasure

cycle every day by the river

your body light, invisible


hurry past the bent figure

leaning on a cane

blocking the aisle


in the grocery store, you groan

at the old lady fumbling

in her change purse


impeding your rush

to do important things

you live with eyes closed.



Now you use a walker

are grateful to souls who slow

and smile


and hold a door

you pass a wheel chair and know

the stairs and steps


the icy sidewalks

the curbs

that hold her prisoner


when she goes home

the cup of coffee she can’t quite reach

the ringing phone beyond her grasp


the comb she drops and can’t retrieve

the drooping plants crying out for water

the thousand cuts.


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