“Old Ladies” By Pam Riley

"Old Woman Dozing" by Nicolaes Maes

“Old Woman Dozing” by Nicolaes Maes

Old Ladies


No one knows the truth

about little old ladies –

the wrinkled squints

of blue and brown

behind wire rims

as they peer over

their fans of cards and cry “Gin”.

No one knows what they

are really thinking

as they sip sherry and spin

a fury of purple thread

between their fingers,

making magic for their grandchildren.


Do they speak of the dapper men

in suits

who brought them asters

and took them out

for lemonade?

Do they speak to each other

of old lovers,

nights of romance

when the stars went missing

and left them barely breathing

in the backs of cars?


Or do they huddle in tea rooms

and theatres

showing black and white

photos, and old sounds

colliding with their chairs?

Do they pretend that

yesterday has lost

its sting and that

tomorrow will come unannounced

too early to be even noticed

and too late

for their hands

to carry?



Pam Riley is a native New Yorker, who still misses the Big Apple. She likes to spend her free time going to the theatre, museums and traveling. She has been writing for years and enjoys working in both poetry and prose. The little quirks and imperfections of life are her inspiration.

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