i do not recognize her,
the round-cheeked, round-bellied zombie with the sad eyes
who catches my gaze in windows, cars, and
medicine cabinets these days.
she is run ragged
thick-jowled, furrow-browed, angry.
she carries a grief backpack loaded with wet rocks,
the extra weight causing poor posture and a misaligned hip.
she says things like “ahh! my hip flexors!”,
dresses like a hostess might the day after guests leave-
knees raw from scrubbing floors,
leftovers dried with abandon where she has wiped
her hands on her thighs rather than walking
the seven steps required to fetch a napkin
she is old
which is not to be confused with elderly
old, as in no longer young
old, as in the age you are when you start receiving more
invitations to funerals than weddings.
eye cream old
she swears off aperitifs and nightcaps
chases morning meds with tap water
thinks of gym memberships during bouts of insomnia
wears guilt like a carefully selected wardrobe
she is the before picture in a supplement advertisement
the blue-collar worker after a long shift
a cautionary tale in grief
i do not recognize her