It was almost night when I stopped to speak with you,
Exchange a word of greeting
shifting my bag of groceries, eager to step home, hungry.
A casual encounter with a neighbor
When did that conversation move past bhajans that you’d just heard
and meander elsewhere?
Perhaps it was the way your lip trembled
Even though you held your grey head high
Picking at the hem of your simple dress
Looking all around from time to time.
When did that tale step past politeness
To sibling abuse and mental torture?
Too familiar a tale—elder abuse, and yes this my
My valiant, ancestral
I listened only too conscious of my grey
And covered up grey
And, yes could money run out
And one’s own turn away
All the whatifs
Rushed down upon me
Trailed me home
Now I wear them, like a second skin.