By Alexandra Dunn
When I stayed down at the beach, every morning
I would make my way down the boardwalk
to the café on the corner, and count my change and dollars
for breakfast. The owner was an old Italian man who would always
give me extra croissants because he thought I was too skinny
but began secretly switching my coffee to decaf ever since he learned
that my parents let me drink coffee from the time I was twelve, and he thought
I didn’t notice, so instead I would give the decaf to the homeless man
at the bus station and slip into the lobby of a nearby hotel where they
always set up free coffee for their guests.
And every morning the old Italian man would ask me
when I was going to return home and be a good
college girl and when was I going to stop hanging around
with all those old men. With their tattoos and rock-and-roll.
That was no life for a young girl.
How could I explain?
That from the time I was young I was constantly surrounded
by “old” women and men.
A child of twenty tied to the generation
she arrived to too late.
My heart beat to an era that had lived
and died before I’d even had my first breaths.
It filled me and made me wild. Slipping into every piece of my person.
My life was made up of old men:
old music men,
For years and years I roamed, I gazed a gazeless stare,
old writer men,
I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
I fell in love with older men.
I couldn’t help it.
And here, another old man
trying to tell me how to live my life.
I couldn’t escape them if I tried.
I did return home soon after and went to visit my mother
where she told me the spirit of my grandfather had appeared
to talk with her at a psychic reading she went to last week.
“He said, tell Alex, no more old men.”
I’m not sure I believe her. But how ironic it’d be
if it were true.