Pioneer Cafe, Montana Morning

Ladies of a Certain Age
girls no more
except in the heart:
What Life has given
you have taken
despite the dreams you had,
despite intentions and resistance;
Age acquiring resilience
for survival’s sake
when life is hard
or dull beyond endurance.

Power in the circle
around the cafe table
every morning, every day
except Sundays, maybe:
Ladies, old and aging
socializing despite,
because of Life;
finding, making, 
sharing power
’round this table…
and resilience,
and amusement–
even some days, joy!

The Pert Young Thing
with young good-looking Fella
full of certainty, resolve
and years-to-come
prances past in her low-cut denims
perky T and perm of wild curls…
She spares not a glance
towards Ladies
of a Certain Age.
Her dreams, her angers
her determination 
not yet tested, not yet tried
nor slapped around by Life–
as long as Fella’s true
and things continue looking up.

The Ladies come and go;
pull in the extra chair 
as needed.
The conversation 
does not lag–
not often, anyway,
does the stream
of interaction fail,
fall into gaps
of silence–
pensive individuality
for just an instant,
before the shield
of gossip, cheery news
and practicalities
asserts itself again.

There is no evil spoken
at this early hour
over coffee, cream,
the solace of bacon
and well-buttered toast,
oatmeal with raisins…
No, in the morning 
hope and cheer
and charity prevail…

The Ladies of a Certain Age
observe the Pert Young Thing
and know–
her chair is waiting.

CL Redding 2007

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