Sharing Gifts with Elders

By Newton Baker

Growing old is not something I did when I was young

‘til one day I looked in the mirror and waved
But only an arthritic grimace waved back

Now in retirement I’ve met older friends
Friends who still know the days of the week
But aren’t always sure which day it is

We sit together in coffee shops sharing grizzled grins
Sipping story lines engrained across our faces
Speaking of times, telling tales, crinkled eyes a-twinkle

Does it matter if what’s said is entirely true?
The coffee’s warm, the memories too
They stream flowing randomly, smoothly, from lip to lip

We sit around the table, old bones bent, leaning in
The better to hear, as some of us, like old houses
Are in various states of needing repair

And together we search in the story telling
To hear echoes of our past more clearly
Noticing things now all the more poignant
Because we had not noticed before we cared for them

In sharing, we keep alive an invisible past

Inspired by each other’s voices invoking their ghosts
And like a pack of spiders

We scurry back and forth weaving our tales
A celebration of being here together

from PoemCity 2012

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