These lines on my face do not worry me

They are not imperfections which I feel the need to hide

These lines are the roadmap of my journey

They are creases in the pages of my story

They are tiger stripes earned through courage, strength and determination

They are cracks in the glaze of a shattered mask I no longer choose to wear

They are the outlines of my joy traced by the tiny fingers of my children

They remember the kiss of the glorious sun and the curse of the biting cold

They are the echoes of past smiles and angry exchanges

They are reminders of my persistence, of my privilege to age

They are reflections of my maternal history, a spiderweb of anchoring threads

Which link me to my mother, and her mother before her,

Beloved and belonging

We share these features as we share our blood and bond

These lines are crevices in a gorge of greater understanding

Valleys of bountiful experience, a rolling riverbed of love

They are stitches in the tapestry of who I am,

Grooves in the printed record of my memories,

They are deep cuts, healed, scarred and made new, made more strong

These lines on my face do not worry me

They are not the strokes of sketched mistakes which I could erase

Or change to fit and please

They are the unfettered movements of a dancing leaf, drawn in the morning dust

They are the edges of my everything,

Of my life.