Steel eyes

Why

don’t older people

express their despair

as much as young?

Do we numb ourselves so much?

Shame? A mask we don

to pretend we’re well

when everyone knows

ageing doesn’t bring respite

from demons.

It is the singular reason

aside chubby cheeks

I wish to be

16 again

for all the friends

who unknowing of pains

to come

had the tenderness

of a hundred, 40-year-olds

who have seen

and are

gone

into their

steel eyes.

It interests me to recall how much time a young person will give someone who is upset. There’s visible difference between what a young person will say and do, versus an older one, that I think has nothing to do with becoming more mature. Older people have little tolerance for depression. You would think, based on this, older people suffer it less, though we know this isn’t true. Is it to do with hope? Societal shaming of seeming weak if over 25 you still give it your time? I always wonder what those over 40 do by way of finding support and people ‘hearing’ them, when the entire world seems to shut you down by a certain age, including yourself.

More

What makes you

A girl of an era, your era

Never to go back, to days of stillness and infernal din

With memories like scars and stars on her back

Trying to become yourself, fitting outside margins

What makes you

Stare into the still bath water

And see no reflection stare back

When your feet grow callused

From running down the highway at night, high on the allure of escape

This world and its myriad cobalt treasures, tinkling in distant solace

And your fingernails are too long to pleasure yourself in the loneliness of marriage

What makes you

Hearing your daughter turn like a clockface away from you and shut her door

Already a mimick of your own teenager fury

Growing colder the unbled radiator hisses her discontent

And your twice baked hopes, just a yellow mirage

Like last year’s jarred rubbarb absorbing color in their condensed glass

While the mockingbird echoes all the stains you try to scrub gone

Mighty elephants tearing trees in fitful gallop

Don’t hold it against yourself for the secret need to

Be scorched by the lust of a nameless body

Turning the fruit bowls upside down, bruising pears

Knocking dignity from the table, losing your footing

To be gobbled by your uncombed sticky frustration

Stringing her unfertilized seeds into honeyed pearls

Rinse yourself of guilt and shame, the hour has passed

To pretend we’re not all longing for the same taste

Covered piece of ourselves before the descent of ritual and plucked

Meat waiting to be cooked and eaten neatly at seven

With a full bodied Cabernet and fine erthenwear the color of sunset

The badly washed underclothes of your trembled longing

And our error in taming this wild circumference

You rub your thumbs along the groove

Candles sleeping in the truth of their waxy burn

Once when not so long ago

How then now you do not know

Lift yourself from the rut and

Jump into space, letting go

What makes you

Decide death a better bed fellow

Pulled back by your scalp to read the inverse riddle

Than …

Than all you used to believe

Before

Yourself of now and the loss

Of more