These small scars and subtle lines
The marks of canula and razor blade
This triangle of raised skin from an
Unlikely first foray at false nails
Tell my story better than palmistry.
Strong hands, cast in my grandfather’s mould
The broad span of a peasant-pianist
Clasping my mother’s work ethic
My grandmother’s curved third joint.
My hands are rebels, weatherbeaten
Eschewing my father’s manicured elegance
With overgrown cuticles, nails kept short.
Functional fingers, well-muscled
And only two permanent ink stains
On the right hand, unmoved since school;
The wart on my left a source of teasing
My witch mark, mocked
By ignorant children. I would not change
The fine hairs on my fourth knuckle
Hidden by the ring I sometimes wear
For the world.
Five smooth hairs
Sit smugly on my brow
Staking their claim on my sanity
Tweezers forgotten on the carpet
The agony of plucking
Each unwelcome visitor
In the harsh grey light of dawn
Making the simplest remedy
The most painful
That one hair, evicted
Clings to my clothing like a child
Sobbing at abandonment
Unwilling and ashen
In stark contrast to my usual
And wild auburn curls
I feel my age settle like a mask
Sewn to my temples
With threads of silver
Les femmes sont comme les oiseaux.
On a certaines grandes specimens –
Celles aux chevelures tres compliquées
Colorées, parfumées, coudues jusqu’aux oreilles
Pour les faire sourire,
Et d’autres qui presque se cachent
Afin de se meler aux murs,
Se protéger dans une forêt
D’humanité grise et passive,
Et ne jamais se faire remarquer
Par celles qui les mangeraient,
The modern dandy is a scruff
Whose clothes can never cost enough!
On public transport he refrains
From standing up – to crease his jeans.
His hair is gelled to stay in spikes
For fear of flatness – he dislikes
To wash or brush it – he disdains
He stares in windows while on trains
To check that nothing is in place
For tidiness would mean disgrace!
And should it ever come to pass
That he displayed a bit of class?
He never more could slouch among
The truly fashionable throng.