Wrinkled and Worn

Mrs. Johnson, in her nineties,
no longer has to worry
about the color line
or the gender line
or the widow line.
Everyone’s a widow at her age
– except for the widowers –
and a ninety eight year old
is so unlikely to be seen
as a sensual object
that her sex
and her sexual orientation
are all but irrelevant.

She used to be black
and that used to be a problem
but now
with her skin so weathered,
wrinkled and worn,
no one thinks of her that way.
No one can see her race
as she’s paled past it.

Now, Mrs. Johnson,
in her nineties,
simply sits
and entertains
and survives.
Once a servant,
now she is served.
Once a nurse,
now she is nursed.

She has passed all lines
worth considering
except for the centennial
which is coming up
…slow.

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