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I am surprised to discover
myself in old age.  
I repeatedly find myself in
the 50's or 60's
as if I never left. It's truly
shocking, the image in the
mirror, the chubby, no fat
old lady I said I would never

Here I am.  Looking young
through old eyes, wearing
sensible shoes thinking
spike heels and fancy hose.
I am still 27 not the 74 I have
inadvertently become.

I am flat shoes and sweaters
in the summer. No hot
tan or sun bleached hair.

This is the time for rocking in
my chair not the dance
floor.  My, I was good.
When the music made sense.
I have my favorites still.
A playlist we danced to.

You kissed me in the dark
and left me in the rain.

I must rearrange my baggy
pants and sweaters. I shy
away the summer breezes
and shiver in the sun.
I look for you in the night,
find you in dreams,
a dear lost

It all went by
so fast.

Caroline Shank
There are things that I have done.  There are songs that
I have sung.  The Beatles
said it best.

I have been pregnant twice.
It was a long time ago.  Now
my grandchildren are grown.

I have held a few jobs. I did
them well.  My bosses were
pleased.  Well not Tim. He
was a *******. But Joyce was Amazing.

I have been friends with
wonderful people.  All except a few have left of no accord.

I am lonely in old age, barren
of thought. Yet still I write you
my phantom friend.  I hug
myself and long for the cigarette days.  The nights of Tia maria
and wine.  Do you still put
your lips around the bottle?
You said not to spill a drop.

The summer's by the lake.
My tan self at home in the
suburb of my youth and
middle age.  I was startingly
free and loud in laughter.

Everything in my plot of
Summer smelled of you.
Years ago when you lied
lovingly so as to keep me
in the cocoon of your
conversations.  I was
unfooled. I remain in the
mind of Narcissus, your
willing amanuensis. X the
night of unremembering
all these years of you.

Caroline Shank
What will you share with me?
You who have been gone so long?  Will you speak of
everyday things?  "Caroline, the
weather has been so cold."

Will you touch me on the hand
that once curled around you?
"Caroline you always had
such soft skin."

Will you sing your songs to
me again? The notes of which
lay down their sound on my
lonely face like kisses.
"Caroline do you remember
how we danced that night
to the music playing on
the revolving colors of
the jukebox?"

Will you bring me
your Roses of Sharon for
all the years of desolation?

Will you kneel into my lonely
night of years of nights?
Will you share my tears,
all my fears, across the
darkening skies?

Will you take the evanescent
light and write joy in
my blue eyes?  
"Caroline do you still light up
at the sound of me
moaning your name?"

I will share your smile with
smiles of my own.
What will you ever share with
me in the flowered landscape
of imagination?

Will you share your thoughts
like petals thrumming on the
wind of your return?  
Or will I awaken
to the unslept on pillow faintly
smelling smoothly of
marijuana, in the raw
morning of remembering?

("Caroline!" the unheard of
to no one there.)

Caroline Shank
I am tumbling downhill
like an Autumn leaf
disarranged from the
pack.  I am caught by
the wind of your disease.

I allow your sickness to
flourish in you.  I have
no choice.  Broken is
what you feel, sadness
is my experience.

I am crisp with failure.
A small dry vein
along the tip of today,
I owe you my apology.
You have not earned
it.  But still I cry.

You, who do not see
me, cannot capture the
desiccation of my

Caroline Shank
I will kiss you last before
I shuffle off, though you
will not know it.
I write your name
with a cloud's bent rod.

You will not know me,
old and fat, but I
owe you an engraved

You left in the rain.  And I,
I ran home to bare my
pain on the palm side of
tomorrow.  Always you,
young and warm. Still
my old heart beats
with your


Caroline Shank
I am almost 74.  I sigh as I type
that out.  I remember the first 45rpm record I ever bought.
Sonny James. "Young Love."
I played it for forever on the
old record player we had in the
basement. $.79

The sunshine of those first
moments of fiscal liberty
burned into my mind.  
It is a fleeting moment
still turning, singing
"they say for every boy and

We all whirl in the dirndl
of time. The dances were
named then.  The slow songs
my favorite.  I have no idea
if people dance now.  What
Blue Skies and Wine and
Roses are there today to
weave the time.  

I live in a Lonesome Town,
with a dwindling number of
friends.  The only thing left
of the lovers who slow-danced
me are the grooves across
the face of a long life lived

across a jukebox of illusion.

Caroline Shank
Can anyone help me? Is
there a minute particle of
a sympathetic soul in the
residue of a life loudly

I don't really have a
syllable of rain to tell
of the need of personal

Someone run to me with
an outstretched hand
that I may not flail
in the cold.

God knows of my need
and He cries at your

Go away from me, I will
struggle to keep from
showing you my unrequited

I am called The City of
New Orleans.

Caroline Shank
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