(I Am) Growing Old

I am growing old.

Not old in the mind,
although memory fades a bit,
but usually concerning things
not worth remembering in the first place.
But in recompense I learn new things about
culture
and
science
and
famous dead people
all the time.

Not old in the body,
for while time’s physical depredations
pleat skin
and
crack teeth
and
tug, gently but with increasing persistence,
at breasts that once occupied a more exalted place,
my passion for carnal pleasure
burns hotter than during decades lived long past.

But still, I am growing old.
I grow old in response, in reaction.

Once, mean-spirited slights evoked biting retorts
that would have blistered and blighted and burnt
ones so unlucky as to have uttered the slurs.
I now merely laugh, secure in my selfhood.

Being overlooked, formerly insupportable,
has become almost a gift in the hurly-burly
of the inconsequential world.

Even betrayal of the heart,
that most hurtful and hateful of iniquities,
moves me no longer to the bloodred rage
and violence of revenge than once it would have.
I no longer belabor the betrayer,
expose in shrieks of unvarnished language
the sin to the girlfriend, the wife, the world.
For, given the decades lived,
the demons encountered,
the devils danced with and dragons slain,
I have come to know
the tenderness, the lusts, the insecurities
and good intentions – the ones that inevitably
draw one down that badly-cobbled path
to hell – of men.
I accept that what’s to be will, in the end, simply be.
There are no more surprises in love.

And so, having grown old in the ways of the world,
clad in an emotional skin that finally fits the framework,
I accept that my claws have been clipped,
my fangs blunted,
my madness tempered with the gentle kiss of reason.

Now, instead of throwing plates of food at the wall
or screaming profanities under dark windows
or making a phone call that fractures a life,
I merely ponder, digest, simmer;
and, picking up pen –
sometimes poisoned, sometimes not –
write.

© 2012 Regina Coeli deWinter

Hear me read this poem.

(I Am) Growing Old

RC deWinter

Fairfield, United States

Artist's Description

The benefits of experience and – dare I say it? – maturity.

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