Gran’s Cosmetic

It’s amazing what they can do –
no longer the ice maiden
who shocked us with her gaze –
her skin and hair made-up,
nails manicured, tinged
with a shallow glaze.

I suppose the pain lay somewhere
behind her poise –
arms folded in a gesture
(an early photo in colour, maybe)
that something of her must persist,
confident she’d not let us down,
assured of her manikin past.

Or maybe the femme fatale?
who saw four husbands and partners off
and now she waits, (like Lenin?)
her pine train to be sealed
for the longest route
over the steppe of her town.

Yesterday she could count
on her “mind ‘e don’t loss it
to loiter so exactly;
her silvered threepenny bit
warm in my hand;
the covers of the bed,
the blinds half-drawn,
the cusp of her lips
accepting their first tint of blue;
her looking glass unclouded.

Bill Headdon