Truth Be Told

there once was a woman turning old,
she still walked the streets quite bold.
don’t tell her no,
she’s got places to go,
won’t buy the goods they sold.

everywhere she went she said,
“i’m old, look at me, i’m not dead.
i like it this way,
don’t tell me nay,
i’m a force to reckon with instead.”

she wrote a play about aging,
made aging all the raging.
play went on tour,
women thanked her
for unlocking their cultural caging.

but truth be told, this woman lives a lie,
she looks in her mirrors and heaves a sigh.
products to bleach,
age spots that leach
on a body getting ready to die.

fingers on temples, lift and then glide,
turkey neck wrinkles meant to hide.
would say yes to the knife,
let it smooth out her life,
but then all would see she had lied.

she knows that its totally low
to care about her wrinkles so.
not feeling worthy,
not feeling nervy,
she’s become her own worst foe.

crepe paper arms, wear long sleeve,
then she can play make believe.
a body young,
a body gung
ho for an aging reprieve.

please don’t tell anyone the truth,
that this feminist is really a spoof.
products galore,
obsessions that bore,
this goddamn ache for youth.

Ode To Myself: Truth Be Told, Reframed

I love
the blood
that makes me a woman
that connects me
to the moon
to the ocean tides. I love
the blood
that no longer flows
and means I’m old
free of monthly woes. I love
the wrinkles
that insist I have lived and I love
the products
that soften the lines. I love
the strength
indigenous and brute
that brought forth
two babes, and can hold a grandson
in a loving lock
until his tantrum settles
into slow breath
as dusk falls
over the cove. I love
the small breasts
that grew massive with milk.

I love
the way
my husband looks at me
his eyes soft and adoring
even after thirty-three years. I love
my arms
because they are the arms
of an old woman and I love
old women.

Walk on a busy street
in any city and look.
There she is,
70, 80, 90
elegant clothes or wild hair
or singing out loud
while walking her dog
or carrying her worldly goods
in a grocery cart. I love
my arms though you might look
at these arms
and think of crepe paper. I love
my orgasms
the praise to God screams
that would wake the neighborhood
even if my only neighbors
are wild turkeys, deer, and coyote.

I love
this body
this ode to Hecate
old hag who stands
at the crossroads of time
and points crooked fingers
where darkness reigns.
I love
that I will
descend and dissolve
into her dark mystery

and I, yes I, oh yes I, Wilderness
will be without this body I love
and I will rise
I will rise again my love

Wilderness Sarchild is an expressive arts therapist, poet, playwright, and grandmother of five. Her poems have been published in many anthologies/journals and she has won awards for her poetry and play writing from Veterans for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Chicago’s Side Project Theatre Company.

:: more from this issue ::

Three Poems

Francine Cunningham

Three Poems

Mahan Ellison

Bones and playing pretend

Amogha Sridhar

City Folk

Nonnie Augustine

Four Poems

Fisayo Adeyeye

Two Poems

Sunayana Bhargava

Desk Job

Makai Andrews

Two Poems

Wilderness Sarchild