How to Age in Place


The old woman I’ll become someday
is already aging in my ear.

She says the future is where
              I’ll move through every room,

answering as if I know
who I’m talking to.


Motion is the way a place changes:
a split between

                            the body that contains,

and whatever lives
inside it.


The body is a place.
Yet the it that I am
             knows only what is felt,
marked in.

Smile from within, she says.

Within —
wherever that is.


She says I must believe
in a place that holds her.


Jeanette Beebe is a poet and journalist. Her reporting has been featured in Scientific American and is regularly broadcast on the NPR station in Philadelphia (WHYY). Her poems have recently appeared in Crab Creek Review, Delaware Poetry Review, Nat Brut, Rogue Agent, and Tinderbox, and are forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review. Her poem “Adopted” won first prize in the Lyrical Iowa competition. She holds an A.B. in English from Princeton, where she was lucky enough to write a poetry thesis under the guidance of Tracy K. Smith. She’s lived in New Jersey for over a decade, but she’ll always be an Iowan at heart. She was born in the eastern part of the state, where four cities share the Mississippi, and grew up in Des Moines. You can find her online at: