Kafka marked
I Grow Old, I Grow Old
by Marsha Schuh

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”
                                                                                    –George Burns

One morning,
woke from dreams
transformed into a horrible
back and head
belly, slightly domed,
stiff sections ready to slide
any moment, legs
pitifully helpless.
What’s happened to me,
A lady fit, who sat upright?

Dull, quite sad,
unable in present,
floundering legs,
pain never felt before.
Oh, God, what a day!

Much more effort
doing your business,
worries about bad people
all the time, covered
with lots of little spots,
cold, always sitting,
my parents a long time gone,
hard of hearing, still

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love erasure poems and Found Poetry in general, and as I read [Kafka’s] The Metamorphosis again, certain words stood out for me and suggested this poem. One of the changes that affects all of us sooner or later is growing old—the transformation from being a “schoolboy with satchel and shining morning face” to “slippered pantaloon” and eventually “second childishness.” And yet, perhaps we need to adopt Twain’s philosophy: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

me--monterey park

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: This photo was taken in Monterey Park, California, in 1947 when there were rolling hills there covered with California poppies and lupines instead of houses. Much has changed in the community (just as in me) in the intervening years.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marsha Schuh grows older every day, but then again, don’t we all? She earned her MFA in Poetry at California State University, San Bernardino, where she taught English. She is now retired, and that allows her to spend more time with her family, and to enjoy reading, writing, traveling, and long-arm quilting. Other perks of aging include getting into theaters at reduced rates, receiving discounts at restaurants and stores, and, most of all, having grandchildren. Since we’re on our way down, might as well enjoy the ride (James Taylor). Her poetry has appeared in Inlandia Journal, Sand Canyon Review, Carnival, Found Poetry Review, and several other publications.