On Feeling Old

Note: Sometimes I feel older than I am and like to joke that I am an old man. This is a tribute to that feeling.

I am not old.
Not even close.
Yes, I enjoy 70s style diners and shelves lined with dust,
But better than dust
Books and a creaky rocking chair
Spelling out all my not so many years
Between front porch slats.
These whispers take me back to times
I never knew.
The antiques in my home remind me of all the years
I never had
But feel clinging to my scars like bookshelf dust.

I know about aching backs and popping knees
And that pain in my chest hides behind a cavity of bitter bones,
Skeletons too long in the closet:
Left to rot.
I know how everyone under 30 is irresponsible
And 50 is just waiting to dust off closet bones
Put colour in scars where it never belonged
beneath a coffin lid
Heaped with dust.

I grow out my hair and scuff my jeans,
Suicidal scrapes of falling down,
on my knees
Too often.
But there are decades between each lack of wrinkle
On my face.
Time says I am 23… or 24… 25?
Doesn’t matter.
It’s all a lie beneath 50 years of closet dust.

And so, I work my knee joints,
Forget the oil,
Cringe as my chest gives out
It’s message to the world
Just to say:
I’ve learned how to grumble with the best of them,
The rest of them,
And hope someone will find the colour
I lost beneath these scars
In my unwrinkled skin
To brush out this dust-greyed hair.

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