[32] Self-Portrait in Old Age, Maureen Eppstein


I am sticky brown rings on the pantry shelf
where cans of tomatoes have rusted through.
I am the rancid pancake mix,
the wrinkled parsnip in the vegetable bin.

I am bath towels frayed at the edges,
bedsheets wearing thin,
a rusty black sweatshirt I’ve worn for years,
drawer full of stockings in packets, unopened,
elastic already shot.

I am the odd collection of medical stuff
at the back of a bathroom cabinet.
I am boxes of family photographs
and pieces of fabric saved for some project
that’s never taken shape.

I am dust on the books read long ago,
and piles of new ones teetering high and higher.
I am the wavering text of the book on my knee
and the soft gray fleece that wraps me for a nap.

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