I used to be a dancer — all through my youth I studied ballet, tap, and modern dance. And I began my college life as a modern dance major. Even when I stopped formally dancing, I continued to go out dancing with friends.

I felt light and in control of my body — strong and supple. Many years later, as I age, I find myself less in control of my body. Even as a lifelong feminist, the absurd, sexist, societal pressures and expectations of maintaining a youthful body sit menacingly on my arthritic shoulder.

One morning I woke up to see my mother’s arms in the mirror and it compelled me to write these poems.

An Ode to My Arms*

Shall I compare thee to my mother’s arms
Thou art more dimply and more pale
Rough times do shake the loose flesh of age
And summer’s sleeves hath all too long a date.

*with apologies to William Shakespeare

A Haiku to My Arms**

My creased jiggly arms
May offend you I suppose
But they are storied.

**with apologies to Bashō