Beautiful Noise

Self-Examination on a Birthday



Legs made for Renaissance tights–

I stood naked

at the mirror in my parent's room,

And I knew an old man,


would envy me this fine new body.

Light was different then, and

My skin tanned like milked coffee,

buckskin with a hint of brass.

The mirror's face was scoured with acne,

But the hands, the belly, thighs–

smooth as oiled wood,

softer, but firm with fresh muscle.

Light was different, gentler,

more forgiving, radiant,

in that moment.

It was just a moment;

I turned away to daily youthful miseries–

despair and failure,

unrequited lust.

Now, I am soft in the gut,

My belly, still flat, inch-deep in fat,

My legs strong but weary.

Thirty-six, and

I look at my hands,

color and texture of worn gloves,

scarred, cysted, dabbled with pale

where scarred skin won't tan.

I feel my joints–

bursitis gravelly in one arch,

ligaments taut in the stiff spine,

aches vague in knuckles, knees, a wrist.

The fabric of my clothing

draws and scrapes on dry skin.

But I would not be seventeen,

Thinking of you, agemate and sister,

laid there beside me each night,

Nor would I be seventy, nor thirty-five,

But just and utterly in this now,

these days of ours,

the where and when

we have invented.

–February, 1982

Poetry Writing Dancing Badger