I saw myself–clearly, so clearly–as
an old woman, sitting
in a chair. In
the sunshine. My hair white. My face
to the sun. I was tired,
exhausted really, of life, in that way
one has after a tremendous effort. Over
and done. Energy spent. No regrets.
The good and
the bad. The joy and
the sorrow. I was smiling.
“You are such a joyful spirit,” a stranger recently stopped me to say.
“Truly, a joyful spirit.” How is that so
when I heft the singularity of
a black hole in my core?
A beloved friend, true and seldom seen, told me
I shine. Of all the compliments paid, the insults made, that
has stuck with me the most. The beach, friends that would become
sisters, words and words and so many words.
“You shine, honey! You shine!” spoken at that exclamation point in
my life, the week of weeks when I broke free of
everything that ever held me back. When I became
the me I’ve always been, have always wanted to be.
I’m a joyful spirit who carries inside
a black hole of more sorrows than the obvious ones. Sorrows
that will never dim my light.
I was an old woman, looking back. The
only way to look when one is old. Always
past. Looking forward to the fading years is
the same as it has always been.
The way is shadow and light. Back
I looked, the sun in my face, on my
hair still touched with long-ago pink
abandoned to the white.