There is an old lady
getting out of a geriatric van
that gives an hydraulic sigh
I can hear all the way into the café
as it whooshes three precious inches
closer to the pavement.
The old lady is
just making it away from the van steps
with the help of a wheely-walker
and two extra sets of arms:
the van driver with a “help the old lady smile”
and a younger woman
in an official-looking smock—
together they are the four-armed deity
who helps the old lady descend from on high.
They thread their way from the street
through an empty parking space,
just makin’ it up on the sidewalk
perilously close to teetering over
and scraping the walker
on the special silver gunmetal paint job
of the $130,000 Porsche
in the parking space
next to their adventuresome path.
I sip my tea and watch through the coffee shop window
exhilarated with the effort,
my own muscles firing sympathetically
to help maneuver the walker
on it’s perilous way.
The Porsche’s driver is not in the car.
It’s a close call, but—
they make it!
The old lady waves goodbye to the two
and looks ahead at the freedom and delights
of the neighborhood stores—
grinning like a maniac
she sports her own
special silver gunmetal paint job
in the coloring of her hairdo
and the sensible lines of her walker.
She’s made it out of wherever she lives
and into the thick of things,
back in the hood!
The van pulls away
and the old lady delightedly
guns it down the sidewalk
as the driver of the Porsche appears,
unaware she is covered
in the dust of the old lady’s getaway.
The Porsche driver,
a bored-looking, able-bodied woman
at this moment
of the great gift of physical mobility
hangs up her cell phone, sighs,
and slips into her sexy machine.
I finish my tea.
The old lady has gone her way down the street
and the woman in the Porsche has driven off
in the opposite direction,
the parking spaces
filled now with ordinary cars. . .
when suddenly I hear laughter
arising fresh from my depths,
the sound splashing between the café windows
and the espresso machine.
My friend the young barista catches the wave
and calls out to my delight,
“That’s Kathleen Dunbar in the house!”
I aim someday
to be such an old lady
with a well polished gleam
in my eye,
but it is so radically honest
so irrational and
such the right thing: to be here
to surrender to the laughter and surprise
of standing upon this moment
to savor my body drenched in this life.
Thanks to the old dear
I catch a glimpse of myself as I truly am,
bejeweled and dazzling
astonished at the bling of me
of us all
of our fine wide souls when we let them shine!
I’m worn out from working so hard
when it’s not necessary.
I unabashedly laugh out loud
through my sweet warm tears,
I grin like a maniac!—
these are my acts of gratitude
in the wake of an old lady
disguised as Lakshmi.
© Kathleen Dunbar
Photo of Flowers on My Altar, and The Porsche Lady’s Car by Kathleen Dunbar