She shrugged then The deep, tired shrug of the very young Who think they’ve been everywhere Done everything I wanted to tell her That there was more to come. That she hadn’t seen anything. But I held my tongue. Let her have her grief while it lasted. Better that than this useless wandering apathy Which I had come to call home. I would leave her to her youth And her pain while it was still Young and glorious and dramatic. Watching the slow trudging Walk away Back bent, crone’s walk curved I envied her and her newly trod upon dreams. With their fresh mint smell New laundered freshness Their soft, bright, bitter corners unblunted. I wanted to inhabit that youth That day-old mind The space in which she carried her body As if it was old But still safe in the knowledge that at a moments notice It would still move just as she wanted it too. That was the moment I suppose When it dawned on me that I had finally gotten old. It’s something you realize Only when the instant finally comes In which you begrudge the young their youth. I didn’t care for it much when I had it. There is no reason I should want it now. Such depth of living has its trade-offs. That young body is still a world Of unfortunate mysteries And unwelcome surprises. Mine on the other hand, I know inside and out Every trick in its book familiar Worn in all the right places Even if it is getting worn out. And while the edges of my mind Might be a little bent and torn The cover ripped off like a paperback novel I’ve grown accustomed to If not contented with my lot And no longer take each ripple and flash To be the end of the world as I know it. The world is not my oyster And I may have long ago given up on the pearl And the silver may be in dire need of polishing but I know my way around and when disaster strikes at least I know the routine.