Old Charmers [Poetry]

This is a poem by Lois Marie Harrod.

for my grandmother

You love their dogged attention,

elderly men ready to lick your hand

slick themselves under 

your good knuckles, obey

any command

if they can

just hobble across the room—

their love me, love me 

wobbling towards you

like a puppy with an old soft shoe.

And you know yourself,

your nose, a faded rose

and your hips—that ruined altar

where once they worshipped— arthritic.

And yet they are still begging their bone,

their scrap, what can it be but habit?

And you reach out your hand 

and scratch behind their hairy earlobes

and feel a bit sorry for them, deep down

wasn’t that what you always felt,

a kind of pity for men tied to their bodies

in a way, for all your former silkiness,

you were not.


Lois Marie Harrod’s 17th collection Woman is forthcoming from Blue Lyra in February 2020. Her Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 from Five Oaks; her chapbook And She Took the Heart appeared in January 2016; Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. A Dodge poet, she is published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches at the Evergreen Forum in Princeton and at The College of New Jersey. Links to her online work is found on www.loismarieharrod.org.

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