I Like Being Old

by Margaret Randall

I really do like being old, having come this far,
having heard and seen, mistaken and known
and done. Especially done.

You may think it resignation, making the best
of the inevitable deal,
maybe a joke.

But what could be better than these fertile memories,
moments the greatest novelist couldn’t make up,
people and places shaping a century?

Great grandchild moving beyond grandchildren
who take my children’s lives high
and extended my own?

Experience enough to separate what matters
from what isn’t worth one moment
of concern?

True, I must pay attention to stiff joints
and creaking bones, navigate each step
up or down a flight of stairs:

challenge against the fateful fall,
wonder about a wavering kidney,
eat less of what I love

and more of that cafeteriabland food
I saw my parents repeat
day after boring day.

No longer can I toss a full head of hair
but carefully comb what remains
to cover blotches of pale scalp,

wonder why so little grows
where it once did me proud,
so much where it isn’t welcome.

My body moves more slowly now
while my mind, when present,
is an ocean of furious waves

sinking ships and revealing
underwater marvels
simultaneously.

Wisdom travels arthritic fingertips,
memory prunes itself
of bitter twigs

as it grows roots that ask questions
and will help sustain
generations beyond my touch.

It’s all good. More than good as I embrace
this red rock landscape, this place
that belongs to me

and absorb each whispering sound
of language and wind,
with you, love: brilliant pollinated center

of my extraordinary manypetaled life.