ArchivesAsian ArtThe First Issue

Where Are My Middle Aged Love Songs?

By November 4, 2018 December 18th, 2018 70 Comments

In her poignant poem, Virginia Duan decries the idea that middle aged women should fade into the background, unloved.


Where are my middle-aged love songs?
I have no use for epic loves.
I no longer yearn for them.
I tire of the flash and bang of the beginning.
What I want is the ode to the middle –
The steadfast 2nd book
The well-earned end.

I want the quiet
Steady love
The kind of love that doesn’t move mountains but remembers to move the laundry into the dryer.
The love that unstickifies floors
Washes wet sheets in the middle of the night
Takes the morning, bedtime, and park shifts with the kids.
The kind of love that sustains, supports, and upholds day after day after day, for year after year until the years become decades and your children have dispersed and grown
And you are all

Where are my middle-aged love songs?
I have no use for torrid affairs.
I ache for softness
For bodies stretched by time and gravity
With room enough to cushion the worst a quotidian life can throw.

I want the infuriating
Desperate love
The kind of love that defies evolutionary fitness, pushing all your reptilian buttons
The love that colors your walls
Breaks all the things you used to treasure
Transforms the greatest pleasures of food, travel, and sleep into the greatest of pains
The kind of love that flows as soon as they fall asleep and ebbs the instant they wake, day after day after day, for year after year until the years become decades and your children eventually calve from you

The kind of love that renders you helpless
Arrests you in a fear you never knew existed
Where all your brokenness ricochets, mirrored in a face so like your own.

Where are my middle-aged love songs?
I have no use for defiant pairings
I weary of running off into the sunset
Gearing up for another fight to prove we belong together

I want the awkward
Initial fumblings
The kind of love that reaches across generations and extends grace
The love that acknowledges the accumulated years of loss and pain
That debates forgiveness and restoration
Or resigns to continued separation, day after day after day, for year after year until the years become decades and grudgingly, you admit that perhaps your parents were human, too.

The kind of love that forces you to examine
Tear apart
Your foundations and rebuild anew

Where are my middle-aged love songs?
The anthems to my failing parts?
Am I invisible now that the first blush of youth has passed?
It is a mystery.

I wish,
I wish
You would sing to me
Of me.


Virginia Duan is a blogger at, where she details her experiences teaching her children and navigating life as a Taiwanese-American woman


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