Mama Said ...

By Mary Moore Easter

                             (there’ll be days like this.)
                                                — The Shirelles

These folks ’bout to respect me into the grave.

At eighty Mama said, (mama said)
           “People think you change when you’re old
             but you still got a girl inside.”

And men could see her, too
         — that pink silk dress —
soothe that hotel bellboy
         “Boy, I’m old enough
          to be your mama.”
He coy
          “well, you ain’t.”

But seventy is prime time
for me to own what “elder” brings.

I reap myself with the respect they sow.

They don’t know I got the road
wide open in me.

Source: Poetry (April 2013).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2013
 Mary Moore Easter

Biography

Mary Moore Easter is a Cave Canem Fellow and professor of dance emerita at Carleton College. Her chapbook is Walking from Origins (Heywood Press, 1993).

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Mary Moore Easter

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Life Choices, The Body, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

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.