BellaOnline Literary Review
Korean Dogwood by Lisa Shea

Table of Contents


In Decline

Jody Zolli

It seems surreal to approach this age
This fulcrum, nexus, dwindling half-life,
This yardstick, both unwanted and unkind.

My countenance becomes a bitter badge
Of honor, confirms the oft-repeated tale
That I´ve belonged far more to use than beauty.

As if beauty were a weakness, a ruse, a flaw
Undesirable because it has refused me
Like a flighty suitor or a fickle fiance’.

My mirror now something I merely tolerate
Referred to when necessity demands
For only just as long as need requires.

My shape now soft, the hourglass is run
But well remembered, yet I´m still surprised
When my reflection now seems someone else.

I sow and harvest aches, complaints, fatigue.
The brown spots on my arms, I realize,
Are time now bleeding through my tired skin.

They spread like some disease as they approach
The backs of busy hands now oddly webbed
Flesh gathered, loose, unlovely, knuckles gnarl.

What did I think? That age would somehow be
All tranquil joy and confidence and grace?
Outflanked by time, I yield to gravity.

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