Touch: The Journal of Healing


Essential Age

    by Toni L. Wilkes

She saw herself as eighteen,

always eighteen.

A seamstress in a factory of furs

stitching them into stoles and coats.

Eighteen and digging bi-valves

on Clam Beach in a gown decorated

with discarded fur trimmings she gathered

from redwood floor planks.

At eighty-five,

she saw herself as eighteen

baffled at what time had

taken from her,

when sudden falls were

blamed on aging and failing vision

rather than calcium deficiencies and

unfortunate heredity.

At eighty-five,

she saw herself as eighteen,

never knew the hip had snapped long

before it met the bathroom tile.


She waited for two days, wondering

what oversized print mystery

I would bring when I found her.

© 2010 Toni L. Wilkes

Toni's chapbook, Stepping Through Moons published by Finishing Line Press, has been nominated for the California Book Award and the PEN USA Literary Award. Her poem "Once Again" first published in POEM received a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Confrontation, Cream City, Dos Passos Review, Poetry East, Soundings East, Southern Humanities Review and other noted journals. Toni lives in Santa Rosa, CA with her husband Gregory W. Randall where they host a poetry salon in their home.


Copyright © 2010

Touch: The Journal of Healing

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