Oct/Nov 2019 Poetry Special Feature

Age Is Just a Number

by Barbara De Franceschi

Age Is Just a Number

Tell that to the shop assistant who thinks I'm deaf,
or the bank teller who assumes
my intelligence has gone on a cruise.

Offspring perceive I live on a mountain.
They stay grounded in their pristine castles,
leave me in the chaos of high altitude.

Fatigue comes from thinking too hard,
chewing on tough steak,
a three-hour-wait at the doctor's place.

Boldness invites me
to dance the tango in pink slippers,
wink at the delivery boy on his paper-run.

I stain my lips a bright crimson,
paint my toenails with liquid glue
so the sparkles stick beneath my woollen socks.

A summer brew is iced tea.
Winter is Vicks stuffed up the nose.
The in-betweens ramble along with indigo indifference.

Strangled empathy comes from neighbours
who smile and wave,
too busy to chat or comment on my flowering cacti.

In supermarket queues I chat with strangers—
(can't have too many friends)
the topic of kids and weather leans into congenial natter.

This morning before I left for tai chi
I sent sweet tweets to the cat—Hey honey, have a nice day!
Sarcasm tinged its niggly reply/

Need fresh kitty litter,
refuse to eat last night's stew,
and change the bloody channel on the TV.


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