Jane, the old woman across the street,
is lugging big black trash bags to the curb.
It’s snowing hard, and the bags are turning white,
gradually disappearing in the storm.
Jane is getting ready to put her house on the market
and move into a home of some sort. A facility.
She’s just too old to keep the place going anymore,
and as we chat about this on the sidewalk
I’m thinking, I’m so glad this isn’t going to happen to me.
It seems like a terrible fate, to drag out your trash bags
and then head for a facility somewhere.
And all the worse to be old in a facility. But then,
that’s the whole reason you go there in the first place.
But the great thing about being me, I’m thinking,
as I continue my morning walk around the block,
is that I’m not going to a facility of any sort.
That’s for other people. I intend to go on
pretty much as I always have, enjoying life,
taking my morning walk, then coffee
and the newspaper, music and a good book.
Europe vaguely in the summers.
Then another year just like this one,
and so forth and so on.
Why change this? I have no intention of doing so.
What Jane is doing—growing old,
taking out her ominous black trash bags
to vanish terribly in the snow, getting ready
for someone to drive her to a facility—
that may be her idea of the future (which I totally respect),
but it certainly isn’t mine.