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Black Lead in a Nancy Meyers Film by Rio Cortez


Never really thought about growing old. Well, if I’m honest—never really allowed myself to think about it. Always thought I’d nope out of this world early—by sickness or by choice. Today find myself strangely wondering what it’ll be like. To be old and loved, I mean.

What does it mean to live inside a brown body. I’ll tell you: limited when viewed by others, and limitless when I view myself.

Of course I dream of croissants by the sea in the morning. Making pancakes in silk pajamas at midnight, in a kitchen where two people can actually move around and dance in. A hallway I can walk the length of, filled with books. But mostly I now wish to live for a little while longer. Until I grow old, I mean. And loved still.

Black Lead in a Nancy Meyers Film
Rio Cortez

Aging, at all. I want that. And to fall
perhaps most honestly in love
beside the ocean, in a home I’ve paid
for by doing as I like: drinking good
wine, dusting sugar over a croissant, or
the stage play I’m writing myself into.
Aging Black woman in neutral summer
turtleneck. Known. And jogging. Lonesome
enough. Eating homemade lavender
ice cream, the moon blooming
through the kitchen window. The distant
sound of waves. Learning
French as a second language.
Votre pâte merveilleux, I smile back.
And then, just like that! Falling, cautiously,
for my busy, middle-aged lover,
who needs me, but has never truly seen me
until now. Our Black friends, celebrating
with hors d’oeuvres. Our Black children
growing older.

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This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day, published by the Academy of American Poets, 2022. Shared here with profound gratitude.

Read more works by Rio CortezFind books by this poet • Or view my library 

Explore poems in pursuit of: growing oldrelationshipswhat it means to be a person of colour • Or browse the index


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Black Lead in a Nancy Meyers Film by Rio Cortez


Comments (4)

  • A

    Beautiful piece.

  • I love this.


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