A Deficit of Sweet Old Ladies

I passed a sweet old lady
in CVS today
My breath caught, to realize
I have no more sweet old ladies in my life
The round top of her gleaming orange coiffure
barely reached my shoulder height
And reminded me of ribbon candy
She softly touched a box of Goobers, pulled away
I moved on down the aisle
but wanted to follow her
I wanted to watch her later molest every craft in Home Goods
to only drop it again, failing her quality assessment
I wanted to follow her home
and watch her at her olive green kitchen table
while she writes a letter to a grandchild
and study the hesitant blue ink
as it slowly traces across the paper
with the same pace and shape of cautious fractals,
ice crystals stretching across a winter window
I wanted to sit with her through
her quiet meals
Listen to the regular clink
of her spoon in her bowl
like a small, but insistent bell tolling
I would like to then follow her upstairs
to her dusk-time, bed-time
to watch her quietly fasten
her sleep cap
to protect her curls
despite knowing, each night,
they will loosen--a bit
as will her memories, which gently lose structure
smoothing out
flat and featureless
like warmed ribbon candy

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