When Age Was No Longer Numbered

When the world no longer aged,
learning did not cease
but development did.
Husbands loved their expectant wives
with their rounded bellies & tiger mom stripes,
& the mothers loved their little one(s) within,
who floated as if in a state of suspended animation,
the mothers,
in suspended celebration.
The babies born were loved for who they were
& who they would never become.
Developmental milestones became a thing of the past;
educational milestones became the next big thing.
There were no more birthdays—
just calendars marking each day
since the last birthday had been celebrated;
there were anniversaries, however,
for Time continued marching on,
leaving a lighter bootprint
with every passing year.

It was an era of endless childhood:
of childhood sweethearts who would never marry,
of teenagers who would never know wisdom,
of young parents who would never become grandparents,
& of grandparents who would never pass away.
Those who loved their age loved their lives;
those who wished to be young again would be old forever;
& those who wished to grow up would never know independence,
for no matter how much they learned,
they would never mature.
There were no more conceptions or births,
no more deaths from old age but unnatural causes.
Those who loved what they did would do it seemingly forever,
& those who did not
could not bear an eternity of hating their livelihood,
so they went back to school
in acknowledgment & the reclaiming of their perpetual personhood,
for they had all the time in the world.

In this reverse Groundhog Day,
where the days changed, but the routine did not—
the world began to live in an almost hypnagogic state,
for the only promise of tomorrow was that it would come.
For some,
this cessation was the spring of eternal life,
for others,
a never-ending winter.
And for those who were too young to know any better,
it was all they knew.

Poem-a-Day April 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #2. Theme: Portrait

Portrait of Gwendolyn

The prime of Miss Gwen Robie
was in her thirty-third year.
As she grew in works and faith–
one foot firmly on each path to heaven–
she became younger in that portrait.
It was if the oils in the colours were
adding collagen to the faint laugh lines
that revealed an appealing overbite,
even as the lines on her face deepened,
like twilight in the forest.

And it was in her ninety-ninth year
that in that painting,
Gwendolyn Robie saw the baby she’d been once–
before the world had made its mark on her,
even as she looked into the mirror and saw the woman who had made
her mark on the world.

2018 April PAD Challenge: Day 2