graying of temples

its the disappearing
graying of temples
and long standing walls
leaning now on their memories

how quickly they leave
disappearing in
neglect, left to collect dust
on old photographs and letters

they were here once
busy like you, late to work
and laughing, making love
and meals, raising their voices
and children, living

ah, there’s the rub
the dead are left to their own devices
playing bridge and counting clouds
leaving the living to go around
in their immortal mortality
while the ashes cool
and death never takes a holiday

there once was a girl that had a little curl

There was a little girl that had a little curl
right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good, she was very, very good
And when she was bad, she was horrid.
-Nursery rhyme

coarser – its texture somehow thicker yet thinner
straight as the proverbial board most days
unless the deep southern summer humidity
ties it in the memory of brown ringlets

the first time it was licensed –
the girl behind the counter
changed the designation
(no longer chestnut brown
with gay auburn highlights,
luscious chocolate velvet
deep and soulful)
saying “I call ‘em like I see’ em.”

the end of that identity

clouds of tarnished silver linings
pewter and iron, steeled locks
brushed nickel
and mercury dimes
in the fogged, foxed mirror

she was once very, very good
and happily horrid
when the occasion merited
and still can conjure up a curl or two
when the mood suits her

worry stones

rubbing the worry stones
until my bones wear
down to the contour of the river
stones rubbed smooth
set into the shore
filling in the bank
where the heron watches
and the beaver take
the young saplings
tender and pliant

I was once that green
and could bend like the willows
weeping at the edge of the water
their tears filling
the deep blue holes
where the old catfish hide

In the Bathroom Mirror

I smile because after thirty something years together
in the bathroom mirror
he still sees that twenty-eight year old young man
I married.
but his twenty-six year old bride
does not gaze back at me
I see
each silver hair
reflect from the mirrored surface
each pound and line
stark realities of time
sometimes I’m startled
not recognizing the image
as Self
but another Woman
(sometimes mother
and now
even grandmother)
stares back at me
from the bathroom mirror
And I smile