! ! Aging with Grace?
The temperature was pushing forty
as we limped into the swanky cafe -
air-conditioned, thank God!
The patronage was mostly middle class
and middle aged,
save for a few ancients
behind their Easy Walkers.
The meal took ages,
and you were hot and bothered in the heat,
so I filled in the time
perusing the faces around me.
A sour sexagenarian
caught my eye.
She had the face of a bulldog
and an ample rump that overflowed her chair.
She stuffed food into her mouth
with dogged determination
and unreliable dentures.
Her shapeless frock had wilted
and her gray locks
hung limply beside long-lobed ears.
Another of a similar vintage,
teetered by the till.
At first I thought she was young.
Her shoulder-length hair
was dyed and tipped
and her scarlet three inch heels sparkled -
but as she turned toward me,
the heavy makeup and designer spectacles
failed to fully mask
a lined and leathery face
that had baked too long
under Melbourne's blistering sun.
As the waitress placed
our 'chili squid' before us,
I remarked to my grumpy companion
that these two were probably our age!
Sad, how one had given up completely,
while the other hung on so desperately
to her brightly painted youth.
Alison Cassidy's Other Poems
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