One Way Ticket

We were waiting for the bus.
You should be wearing a hat,
she said,
You’ll catch your death.

I’d spotted her strolling down the
street window shopping
talking to a stranger,
timeworn gaberdine navigating
her frailty, brown fuzzy beret,
not so much Basque as
church Bring and Buy,
clutching a bag that matched nothing,
tight like a security cloth,
contents stoically protecting her past;
Stratton compact, sweet pressed nostalgia,
bright red lipstick, barely worn,
as garish as she never was,
and Yardley 4711 eau de cologne
with its little rubber stopper,
to be dabbed sparingly,  of course,
middle finger only.
Oh, and a piece of coal should she come
across someone about to take an exam.
My daughter was in the legal profession,
she told the stranger.
I was a secretary mum.
Same thing,
she said.

She told me she still had a bus ticket
somewhere from the days of
Samuel Ledgard;
now they were real buses.
Anyway, where are we going?
she asked, quizzical. I smiled.

Home, I said.

This poem is a reflection of the beginning of my mum’s long,
slow and very sad journey through dementia

 

 

 

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At the Hairdresser’s

I look in the mirror,
head like Tin Man,
ask myself,
Why do I do it –
why not grow old
gracefully?

I ignore the reply,

immerse myself indulgently
in “Hello” magazine;
Victoria Beckham’s two year
old sporting designer clothes,
minor celeb from somewhere,
nowhere, Gucci heels,
Balenciaga bag,
sprawled outrageously over
a leather sofa to die for, and
the poshest of posh celebrity
weddings and all its
tacky trappings, until

“ping” – I am done, cooked to
perfection, all set to re-emerge
into my altogether more
sophisticated, intellectual world,
ready to resume justified criticism
of people who doll themselves up
and read trash.

Wendy L. Macdonald

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