For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like.
I’m at the county jail —
security check for a class I’ll teach.
Fingerprints. The guard says
they change over the years — who knew?
Birthplace, height, weight,
and then he asks for my hair color
and for the first time in my life
I say – gray,
and he writes it down.
Suddenly I realize
that I’ve been holding my breath,
waiting for him to deny it.
I look at the mirror
and turn away, forgetting who I see,
because someone in the world
has taught me
to be ashamed of being old.
Of course I see the gray hair,
but not the wisdom —
certainly not how I will touch
the lives of particular men,
doing the word as only I can do,
and also hearing some words only they
have the lives to say,
my altered fingerprints.