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About This Birthday

by Kay Saunders

Kay Saunders

A few days before seventy-five
I check the mirror again
and, sure enough, there are wrinkles
and grey hair in the black I loved.
Crepe paper skin barely covers
weak blue veins in arms
that got old before I did.

One drooping eyelid makes me blink
for more artificial tears,
two dropping thighs encased in elephant skin
beg to be covered quickly.
And yesterday when I listed toward the table
I just couldn’t open the inside cereal wrapper
with my perfectly good fingertips.

But, you know, there’s something thirty in there….
The feel of hoisting babies on a smooth
and not so hefty hip,
hugging each one as if love
would, but never could, run out.
And in snuggling with them
in a damp tent, then eating either
very raw or very burned foil dinners.

And there’s something thirty in there…
longing to sway in George’s arms
or stomp with him to the Johnson Rag.
And even last night when the couples
jitterbugged and polkaed
I knew I’d be there again
when the potassium is up
and the ulcer is down.

And there were no wrinkle last night,
but something thirty and wonderful
when George hugged me tight,
kissed me hard, fluffed the pillows,
told me he loved me
for the hundredth time.