My face is older than my me
especially in the too early
when I’ve forgotten how to sleep
and my mouth does not yet remember
how to smile.
My arms are older than themselves
when I bend forward to brush my hair,
pitted, drooping as if asleep,
then replumping when I’m upright again—
a preview of old-lady-arms to come.
My hands are blazing this trail for me,
such a thin veneer of skin, part leopard now,
branches of the Nile threaded in between,
fingers a little gnarly, sometimes stiff,
complaining like the crows
who left their footprints above.
My legs are younger than the rest,
still strong and shapely;
please view them
with naked presbyopia-eyes,
blind to any pink varicose flowers.
I’ve got pill bottles in a row on the counter,
more on a shelf in the fridge,
silvering hair, warm socks in bed,
prunes for stewing,
a recliner for napping,
reading glasses in every room.
Meanwhile, the compassion lines on my face
are also embroidered on my heart—
my heart, younger than my old,
older than my young.
The blue heron stands on one leg, completely still,
waiting for the moment just before it’s time to fly.
I wait with him, chocolate ice cream melting in my mouth.
My heart is every age, and none.
Cynthia Bernard is a woman in her late sixties who is finding her voice as a poet after many years of silence. A long-time classroom teacher (math and science, grades 6-adult) and a spiritual mentor, she lives with her husband Mark and their pets on a hill overlooking the ocean, about 25 miles south of San Francisco. Her work appears in Multiplicity Magazine, Heimat Review, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Journal of Radical Wonder, Medusa's Kitchen, Passager, Persimmon Tree, Verse-Virtual, and elsewhere. She is currently a student in the MFA program at Lindenwood University, with a concentration in poetry.