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.






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