When I am an Old Woman

When I am an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Orange (and Dog Hair)
Kimberly R. Kelly


When I am an old woman, I shall wear orange (and dog hair)

With a boonie hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me

And I shall spend my pension on MREs and rappel gloves

And Danner boots, and say we’ve no money for butter.


I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m waiting for deployment

And gobble up Gorp on trails and respond to alarms paged

And run my tracking stick along the public pathways

And make up for the selfishness of my youth.


I shall go out in my Gore-tex with my dog in the rain

And leave no trace behind the flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to start a fire using only Doritos.


You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.


But I will wear orange and dog hair

And eat from the Salvation Army chow wagon

Or pancakes from the Dolores Fire Department

And I’ll hoard compasses and waterproof pencils and matches.


For now we must have parkas that keep us dry

And pay for conferences and not swear in base camp

And set a good example for the children by doing dog and pony shows.

We must have friends to sit around campfires and read after action reports.


But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and continue to wear orange.


Copyright, all rights reserved, Kimberly R. Kelly, November 4, 2010

With all appropriate nods and gratitude to the 1961 poem, “Warning: When I Am An Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple” by Jenny Joseph

November 8, 2010 at 5:38pm