The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


first love


            I don’t think any woman ever forgets her first love. She may have been ten or   twenty or forty but at eighty she still remembers him   She remembers the sound of his voice, his crooked big toe, the warmth that enveloped her when they danced, his clumsy attempt to do a jackknife off a diving board, the smell of Old Spice shampoo that lingered when he came out of the shower. She remembers, too, the joy of falling in love.  It makes no difference whether he was a prince or a cad  – she remembers.


Sometimes the memories are of a special moment they shared. Maybe they laid on the banks of river and he read poetry to her.  Maybe his mother welcomed her with open arms.  Maybe he knocked down all the milk bottles at a carnival and presented her with a giant teddy bear. Nothing that happened to her since has the same hold on her memory.


If you ask a man whether or not he remembers his first love he’s likely to say yes. But the woman he’ll then tell you about won’t be the first woman he fell in love with:  it will be the first woman with whom he had sex. He will remember how clumsy and inexperienced he felt but cannot recall the color of her hair and sometimes not even her name. This  poem would be Greek to him.



His sparkling emerald eyes,

His copper penny hair:

A memory

Trapped in the depths of my heart.


I want to let go and when I come close

I hear a song we danced to;

Words he whispered softly.

Smell the magnolia he tucked in my hair,

Feel the caress of my name on his lips


I want to let go.

And just when I think I’m almost there

Vapors of onion soup drift in,

Smoky cafes drown once more in soft jazz.


I want to let go but I cannot forget

Memories of togetherness laughter,

Bare toes in wet sand,

Dimple in chin, freckle on shoulder,

Wading – then swimming – in passion’s waters.


The pilot light of remembrance

Flickers once more in my soul.

I lay awake in the night

Wishing the heartache away.

I want to let go, love freely,

Untethered by the leash of his memory.


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Julie Rose




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