This Old Woman


Standing in line at the market
She nearly drops her cane
Searching her purse for a coupon,
For her money,
Checking a wrinkled list.

She tilts perilously,
Forgetting to balance herself,
Nervous because she is the next to pay.

This old woman stands
Next to the magazines,
Glossy young women
Ripe for mating.
Everywhere this old woman goes
The young world surrounds,
Confounds,
Reminds her how long it has been
Since desire.

We turn our eyes away,
Pretending not to notice
As she questions the cashier needlessly,
Counts out nickels and pennies,
Drawing out this time of human contact.

She places the coins in the cashier’s hand,
Feels a radiant warmth from his skin.
It startles,
Her hand jerks
And three pennies fall to the counter,
Roll off the edge and are gone.


~ Russ Allison Loar
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