“The Warm Bed” by Lynne Knight

Lynne Knight


We decided not to think about being
as old as we were, fearing we’d soon feel
feeble, far removed from our youthful vision 
of ourselves as old ladies in flowered dresses
on the veranda, drinking afternoon tea 
while eating sweets because who cared
how fat we got, & besides, the dresses—
capacious, fluttery as butterfly wings.
But no, forget that, we wanted to look
younger than we were, not with the aid
of dyes or face work, just our attitude,
which face it hadn’t always been great,
resenting those who were more this 
or more that before being chastened into 
gratitude over the years as the end neared,
that death we didn’t want to think about
the way we had when we were young, oh
tender angst. By now we knew that lying
on our deathbed regretting time wasted
was probably inevitable, but why make it
worse than it had to be, why waste more
than we already had, dreaming ourselves 
into other lives, other places, when each day
waited like a lover who knew our flaws
yet called to us anyway from the warm bed.

from Rattle #76, Summer 2022


Lynne Knight: “Getting old is something I’ve been hesitant to acknowledge in poems, as if doing so might decrease my chances of getting published because, really, who wants to hear about it? And yet, here I am, an old woman, and I know my default position every single day ought to be gratitude. Most days, it is. But I love being alive so much, and I love being able to write every day so much, that at moments it’s hard not to long to be young again, just starting out.” (web)

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