Living with the Elephant I guess the fog has little cat feet sometimes, but around here it dances with the wind, wild and fierce, especially at dawn. Howling across the ocean, up the hill, gusting my robe against me, sloshing coffee into my face as I try for a sip. I guess aging is gradual sometimes, but around here it’s a tempest, arising suddenly, wild and fierce and relentless. Wrenching my days apart into a before that can never be found again -- and a very different now. I guess one could fight it sometimes, hair color, face cream, supplements and potions, exercises, affirmations, denial. I guess one could simply accept it sometimes, but around here arthritis has swept in on elephant feet, fierce and relentless, and no pill, no potion, no affirmation, no meditation, can sweep it out again. I guess one could handle things gracefully and sometimes I do, but around here there are other times, too, when everything seems to hurt and I want to stay under a quilt for whatever part of forever I get to see. And then again, there are yet other times, sometimes, the majesty of the ocean at first light, the sweetness of love found late, my hand sliding into his. New buds on the camellia, rain on the roof, deer in the yard, granddaughter’s smile, or a nothing-special-time in the exquisiteness of the now. And I find that sometimes, increasingly often, I welcome it all: the cat’s feet and the elephant, things wild and fierce, quiet moments and raging ones, lines on my softening face, creaky joints and aching bones, wind in my hair, full heart, fog over the ocean at dawn. (This poem was originally published in Multiplicity Magazine)
Bio: Cynthia Bernard is a woman in her late 60’s who is finding her voice as a poet after many decades of silence. A long-time classroom teacher and a spiritual mentor, she lives and writes on a hill overlooking the ocean, about 20 miles south of San Francisco.
Publication history: Her poetry has been published in Multiplicity Magazine, The MockingOwl Roost, The Vita Brevis Press Poetry Anthology, Last Leaves Literary Magazine, Flora Fiction, fws: a journal of literature and art, and Open Door Magazine, and will appear in upcoming issues of Passager Journal and The Fresh Words Magazine Anthology: Contemporary Poems 2022.