Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

(after Roethke)

I am a woman lovely
in my thinning bones, in my cheeks
that rise like hillocks, and lovely
with my chiseled shoulders mantled
by a fringed shawl, and in the tatted lace
of my arms, legs, and face.

Lovely is my white hair, soft and fine
as dandelion fluff, and lovely the way,
with each step, my spine straightens, curves,
and my hips roll as if I’m riding a unicorn.
No one who sees me thinks, Hag, crone.

On the subway, young men call to me,
“Hey, Mamma, you can have my seat,”
and they bask in the blessing
of my long-toothed smile.

I dare to stride the dark, knife-blade
parts of the city, my aura spiking
a warning that I once wrestled Thor,
and brought him to his mighty knees
on the gum-splotched sidewalk.

You say this is just a myth?
Well, you better give me wide berth.

back to contents