Salmalìn vs. Old Age

K. Ryan, 2005.

There are lines in her face. They drag
At her lips, her eyes, her chin
The downward pull where ends begin.
The skin of her throat paper-thin.
Corded veins shine through in blue.

Strands, then swathes, of hair now grey
Pigment shying from display
After years under sun and skin.
Her lungs have let the rattle in

On her hips and thighs, streaks silver gleam
Dimples and hatchings,
Obvious in the lean
Of body bent and claw-like cling
To the cane in her hand, it tells most of all
Life beats under a dingy pall
Broken by a dry-lipped smile.

Yet she is beautiful still, you see.
I love her most, she moves me best
I dread her day of final arrest.
Selfish in my desire to be first.
Always, I am the worst.
Especially when I want to see
How after all these years, she thinks of me.