When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me…
Three “old” poems — one for my grandmother, one for my mother, and one for me.
When I am old, I shall buy a piano
And rest my fingers lightly on the keys, curved just so.
I’ll retrain them to move the way they did when I was a girl,
The time I accompanied my brother, Nichol,
While he played his violin for Calvin Coolidge.
I’ll play hymns on the upright
And sing along
With the nobody in the room.
And I will drink dessert wine
Even though I am a Baptist
One glass every night before bed
Because my doctor said I could.
When I am old, I shall plant a garden
Not of practical vegetables like green beans and carrots,
But a banquet for the eyes.
A sumptuous spread of colors
That changes from week to week,
Crocuses, daffodils, bachelor buttons, and poppies.
I shall plant it close to the road
For the passers-by to feast upon
If they but take their time.
But to those who drive too fast,
I will shake my fist
And shout –
You’re missing the best part of life!”
When I am old, I will pump iron.
I’ll pull my kettle bells out of the closet
And swing them.
I’ll do squats and lunges,
And Turkish get-ups.
My body may wear the softness of a slowed metabolism
But underneath I will be strong –
Strong enough to arm-wrestle with my children
And laugh at the absurdity of the thing
But still occasionally win.