The Romance of Middle Age

By Mary Meriam Mary Meriam
Now that I’m fifty, let me take my showers
at night, no light, eyes closed. And let me swim
in cover-ups. My skin’s tattooed with hours
and days and decades, head to foot, and slim
is just a faded photograph. It’s strange
how people look away who once would look.
I didn’t know I’d undergo this change
and be the unseen cover of a book
whose plot, though swift, just keeps on getting thicker.
One reaches for the pleasures of the mind
and heart to counteract the loss of quicker
knowledge. One feels old urgencies unwind,
although I still pluck chin hairs with a tweezer,
in case I might attract another geezer.

Poem copyright ©2009 by Mary Meriam, whose most recent book of poetry is The Countess of Flatbroke, (afterword by Lillian Faderman), Modern Metrics/Exot Books, 2006. Poem reprinted from Rattle, Vol. 15, no. 2, Winter 2009, by permission of Mary Meriam and the publisher.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Mary Meriam

Subjects Living, Midlife

Biography

Mary Meriam is the author of The Countess of Flatbroke (Modern Metrics/Exot Books, 2006). She lives in Missouri.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Midlife

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.