If I Grow Old With You

Author | Marianne Peel

If I grow old with you,
I will tap dance on a football field
of multicolored bubble wrap,
miniature fireworks exploding beneath my toes.

I will refuse to lather myself in lavender or lace
and I will cease to shave my armpits, 
braiding those strands of grey
into intricate and beaded cornrows.

I will open a bake shoppe
that serves a deliriously decadent menu
of chocolate and carbohydrates and vino
and I will not wipe politely the oozy goodness from my lips.

I will snort unashamedly when I laugh.
I will be that Bravo Lady in the front row center.
I will weep out loud during the courtroom scene in To Kill a Mockingbird,
and I will have my own personal standing ovation when Atticus passes by.

I will paint my toenails with bright turquoise stars
and continue to have pedicures by petite Vietnamese women.
I will blissfully rub my softened heels together
and play sensuous footgames with you, my lusty lover.

I will abandon all brassieres
wearing a translucent camisole instead.
My unbinding – my secret – under sweaters
that celebrate my curving parts, my roundness.

I will jingle and shimmer
when I enter a room
with a Turkish jangle wrap suspended around my belly
and rattling, dangling earrings that glitter sound.

I will stop buying boxes of $7.99 hairdye
and discover the silvery birch grayness of my own roots.
I will refuse to hack my hair into the requisite old lady bob
and instead wind my hair into interlocking dreadlocks

And at night, when our curtainless room welcomes the moonlight,
I will hang my bedazzled cane next to your collection of character hats.
I will snuggle in, warmly next to you, our hair blended
on the pillow together, a monochrome watercolor of tresses unbound.

About the Author | Marianne Peel taught English at middle and high school for 32 years. She is now retired, doing Field Instructor work at Michigan State University. She recently won 1st prize for poetry in the Spring 2016 Edition of the Gadfly Literary Magazine. She also won the Pete Edmonds Poetry Prize. In addition, Marianne has been published in Muddy River Review; Silver Birch Press; Eastlit; Persephone’s Daughters; Encodings: A Feminist Literary Journal; Write to Heal; Writing for Our Lives: Our Bodies—Hurts, Hungers, Healing; Mother Voices; Metropolitan Woman Magazine; Ophelia’s Mom; Jellyfish Whispers; Remembered Arts Journal. Marianne also received Fulbright-Hays Awards to Nepal and Turkey. She is a flute playing vocalist, learning to play ukulele, who is raising four daughters. She shares her life with her partner Scott, whom she met in Istanbul while studying in Turkey. Marianne also taught teachers in Guizhou Province, China for three summers, and she also toured several provinces in China with the Valpraiso Symphony, playing both flute and piccolo, in January of 2016. Recently, Marianne was invited to participate in Marge Piercy’s Juried Intensive Poetry Workshop in June 2016. This fall, she journeyed to Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, where she took part in an amazing Narrative Poetry Writing Seminar.

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