grape roots, some looking 100 years old, in stark contrast to the acre upon acre of new Sonoma grape vineyards, the money crop replacing apples and pears. Last Tuesday four of us ventured out to take photos. I love the weathered texture of the old roots and the stories they tell, so why not extend the same generosity to myself? I came home and wrote the following:
Who Is That Old Woman?
Who is that old woman?
Sleeps in my bed
Eats at my table
She is not me.
Sure, she lives in this house
Naps in this recliner
Drops unread newspapers on my floor
But she is not me.
Downs pills for heart and belly
Drinks decaf coffee, one cup
Checks batteries in her hearing aids
Tut, it is not me.
No dog or cat snuggles her feet
Looking ancient, toenails yellow.
Alas, she is not me.
Drooping eyes squint at the tv
Breath jagged, footsteps wary
She rises to pee in the night.
For certain she is not me.
And when she crawls back in bed
No other curving back warms her breast
No tender hand strokes her thigh
Still she is not me.
For I am twenty years younger.
I climb ladders to pluck pears.
I play Little Sir Echo with the Great Horned Owl.
I relish workouts at the gym.
I prune sixty roses in spring
I divide 300 iris in August.
And when fall comes, as it is now,
I embrace the persimmon and paint up a storm.
Often I melt at the tender smile of my lover
Who forgives and forgets my inadequacies.
In whose eyes I am perfect and still sensuous
As she struggles to steer her walker to bed.
The old lady who lives here knows none of this.
She grumbles and growls at her frailties.
She grasps railings stepping cautiously
She decries her loneliness at night.
Perhaps when winter comes I will
Get up my dander and ask who is this interloper?
Like a guest who smells like a fish in three days
She is surely not me.