First published in June 2021

The thing is
you've never been old before
said 'my old knees
aren't what they once were'
and 'how did my feet
get to be so far away?'
always with a laugh,
not really meaning it.

Old has always been
a word for other people,
grandparents, of course, teachers
from time to time, whiskery men
drinking coffee from tiny cups,
chatting earnestly
as they lean chins on walking sticks
and watch the world go by,
but old isn't us, not yet, not yet.

until now, that is,
and it's no fun, you can't see
small print, don't dare drive,
wobble as you walk,
have difficulty remembering
names and telephone numbers -
worst of all, complete strangers
call you 'Dear' or 'My darling', even
try to help you cross the street.

No doubt it's better than the alternative.