Contemplating Cronehood
by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

My vision no longer sharp without glasses,
I lean in to the mirror, turn on all the lights
my long straight hair shining silver in the glare.
Here, a new wrinkle—there, a forgotten scar.
A triangular stretch of neck-tendons I thought
belonged to my mother seines my hair-sprouted
chin. A permanent crease survives where dimples
had been. Irises faded from youth’s spring-stem
green to maturity’s olive drab, color of fatigue.

Vanity is the granddaughter of emptiness,
a futile resistance against the weathering
of time and its inexorable embarrassments.
I strive to grow old gracefully, to become
a wise, venerable woman. Yet, I buy cheap
face cream at CVS—it promises a semblance
of youth. Henna sits unused in a box below
the sink, the small pot of eye cream awaits.
I listen for foremothers’ riposte—no answer.

Copyright 2023 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.