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Dry shade


1 Minute Read

A problematical bed to fill was how she put it, which left a lot of scope to wonder how the problem came about and when. In her faded Greenham Common T-shirt and cut-offs, she looked too jaunty for sudden widowhood; too down-at-heel to be on the pull, though her breasts were nicely presented. She didn’t seem the sort to offer her bed to a canine companion, and I guessed her to be a cat-hater or even a member of ‘Abstinence Actually’. Dry shade she whispered to the young attendant, and the ghost of Mellors seemed to hover at her shoulder, to hint at maidenhair ferns, though a gamekeeper was probably the last thing she wanted in her garden, dry shade or not. Then she disappeared down a row of euphorbias, left me to conjure her maverick world; the delicate stepping over of a wine and poem drunk woman, her late night dance, how in the morning she might hurry to ‘sent items’ to check her indiscretions.

Wendy Klein is one of the poets who is performing on June 27th at the Poetry Cafe as part of Pizzazz, the Advantages of Age poetry evening. Book your ticket here.

What The Weaver Knows by Wendy Klein


1 Minute Read

I’m not just any maiden lounging in the millefleurs,
there to bait the trap. On my canvas, invisible

to the innocent, fish knives gleam, wait to scale
your silver, crack open your heart. Listen;

there are rumours of drowning by metaphor:
the flicker of dance, the aspiration of flight,

the whale-bone squeeze that robs breath, moulds
flesh into enticement, promises nothing.

Embrace the rush of darkness, the drip and seep
of 4 AM when eyelids are peeled back, lashes bat

and flap, when the tick of the body is loudest
as light advances, twists, morphs, begins its birth trial:

crown of head, shoulders, the buttocks’ heart-cushion,
legs and feet, their twitch and kick built-in.

No I’m not just any maiden, there to bait the trap, a silly pawn
in some hunter’s game. It’s the beast I covet:

the arch of his back, his mane’s rough silk, the heave
of his white, white breast. Look out, for only the canniest

can break into the spiked circle, where I spell-spin;
a sucker for unicorns; not much of a lady.

The Million Women Minus One


1 Minute Read

I’ve lost their latest questionnaire, along

with its covering letter, thanking me for my

previous entries which have informed

their research so they could inform me of all

the risks I have taken, based on my consumption

of alcohol, twenty years of smoking

 

and the size of my waistline. I remember

filling it in; sealing the freepost envelope –

would anyone return it if it wasn’t free?

I remember seeing it on the front seat

of the car – a reproachful shade of white,

waiting to be posted, its later disappearance

 

a mystery. That they will miss my data is certain;

how else will they know that a woman of my age

can still be sexually active; though her liver

may be ballooning in secret, or becoming sclerotic,

and her brain about to atrophy on more

than the recommended units per day?

 

I want to throw a party and invite all the other

million women who simply break

every rule and rejoice; who lose the damn

questionnaire down the backs of their sofas;

who bin it without even bothering to fill it out,

who leave it behind in their lovers’ cars.

If I Cannot


1 Minute Read

have first kisses again in the way
they only hint at what is possible
with slow tongues that are sleepy,
breathless with promise, and if I cannot
reclaim the first whisper of silk stockings,
of silk panties, the pulling on,
the sliding off and feel my hair all wild again,
snaking down my back, or set loose
in the breeze, tangled, unruly, startling
the face, taking it by surprise; from the front,
from behind, then I will settle for being
the crone poet – the famous crone poet.

I will want to recline on my velvet chaise,
to be Delphic, oracular, to dispense wisdom
with artful generosity, laced with innuendo,
to the crowd of sycophantic young bloods,
all smooth and articulate, who will gather
at my feet – especially the handsomest,
with their beckoning hands, their mouths
honeyed with admiration for my faded beauty,
my still-agile brain, murmuring sweetly,
moving closer in the evening workshop whirl,
their predatory clip boards tossed aside.

I will unlock my box of stored up fantasies
and scatter them like rose-petal confetti,
allowing the lads to bestow kisses on my hands,
regal and be-ringed, to stir the blood that still
pumps hot beneath the tissue paper skin.
I will want to feel their fresh lips on my
well-mapped cheeks, to open myself
to their insouciant patter, after the meal,
after the wine, after the creamy sweet,
and jeans – just a bit too tight, I will want
to savour the cool moisture of the last kiss
good night as it dries on my lips.

Surprise Me

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