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  keith  o'connor
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 In this modern age many of us are raised in stratified economic social groups away from life's mixture of young and old. We are young now but some day we will grow old but we have  no childhood memories of old people no memory of how to grow old. 

her clear blue eyes 
followed me 
as I moved from 
dress rack to dress rack 
such blue eyes 
in such a frail 
smelly old lady 
sitting in the corner 
with her old cat upon her lap 

why I came in here 
I'll never know 
she's old 
the clothes are old 
everything smells old 

the shop door-knob rattled 
I knew it was my mother 
I wish I had stayed in the car 

Edna - how are you 
my you look well 
don't get up 
it's me Addie 
- who? - 
Addie: You know:  Margaret's daughter 
- my how you have grown up - 
- you were a little girl - 
- when last I saw you - 

and this big girl 
is my Amy - my daughter 
Amy this is your great aunt Edna 
she was a beauty queen 
the beautiful bird 
they called her 
but that was many decades ago 
when she bought this store 
she called it her cage 
uncle Max said she was 
an old bird in a cage 
so we called it 
the birdcage 

my great aunt Addie is now dead 
every now and then 
that short memory of her 
wanders through 
my mind  
like a ghost 
who has no beginning 
and has no end 
she is a little piece of my life 
my own little ghost 
drifting wandering 
looking for a home 
I remember the anger of that day 
my mother made me go in 
I didn't want to 
I don't want to attach 
my anger of that day 
to my little ghost 
my little ghost 
is a part of me 
a part of me 
who will 
in the evening of my future 
take my hand 
help me 
gently show me the way 
the way to enter the bird cage 

Keith O'Connor 
2002 Feb 2 
Ottawa Canada 

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