Finis Origine Pendet

Ira Batra Garde '76
May 11, 2022
Black and white drawing of a smiling woman

Aging, I fear I will be seen as irrelevant
not be seen at all, be alone, become invisible.
If it happens, I could just notice that others don’t notice me,
remain calm about it.

Spots, unwelcome guests. I notice my aversion.
Could I welcome them?
Skin, tight no longer, jowls and neck loosely defined.
Eyelids: soft, delicate tissue. Redundant or beautiful?
Do these dermatologic signs of decay hide the mood within?

You have to know me, be interested in me to
know I feel happy, energetic, vital
and also afraid about the loss of my vitality.

Getting older, I notice my walking, gaining interest in its
the universe beginning to become contained within me.
Bone, joint, muscle: pleasant ache, minuscule twinge.
Surprisingly unsteady step: less sure, foot rises higher, falls flatter.

I notice myself enlivening my steps, making myself spry,
testing the moments while I think I might still fake it.
Wanting to deny the inevitable: a good game,
harmless fun when I notice. Or bittersweet?

Others see that I am old: they don’t deny it.
They assist me by making me invisible,
seeing me but not noticing, desiring nothing, asking too little
helping me enter the realm of the imperceptible.


Editor’s Note: Ira Batra Garde, a psychiatrist, is currently writing a novel about an Indian military surgeon during the tumultuous reckoning that encompasses both World Wars. This poem originally appeared in the anthology Walking With the Shadows, Leaving Them Behind: Selected Poems by the Pegasus Physician Writers at Stanford, which features creative works written by physicians and medical students.

This article first appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.

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