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Beneath the Sweater

and the Skin

How many years of beauty do I have left?

she asks me.

How many more do you want?

Here. Here is 34. Here is 50.

 

When you are 80 years old

and your beauty rises in ways

your cells cannot even imagine now

and your wild bones grow luminous and

ripe, having carried the weight

of a passionate life.

 

When your hair is aflame

with winter

and you have decades of

learning and leaving and loving

sewn into

the corners of your eyes

and your children come home

to find their own history

in your face.

 

When you know what it feels like to fail

ferociously

and have gained the

capacity

to rise and rise and rise again.

 

When you can make your tea

on a quiet and ridiculously lonely afternoon

and still have a song in your heart

Queen owl wings beating

beneath the cotton of your sweater.

 

Because your beauty began there

beneath the sweater and the skin,

remember?

 

This is when I will take you

into my arms and coo

YOU BRAVE AND GLORIOUS THING

you've come so far.

I see you.

Your beauty is breathtaking.