1 Minute read

Red Toenails in April

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1 Minute Read

A woman who’s painting her toenails red in April
is not resigned to the moment; she’s thinking ahead
to summer, adventure, escape from tiresome routines.
Otherwise why keep dabbing with the wayward brush,
the unruly varnish, her hand less steady than before?
It might be desperation because time is running out,
and the bottle is nearly empty.

A woman who’s painting her toenails red in April
has not given up; she intends to keep her options
open; to soldier on through the rigours of ageing.
Otherwise why would she, knowing no one is likely
to notice her efforts, sit perched on the toilet seat,
her feet propped on the bidet, wielding that wayward
brush while periwinkles bloom in the woods?

A woman who’s painting her toenails red in April dreads
the threat of the magnifying mirror no longer steamed up
when she’s towelled dry after her long soak. Otherwise
why would she dream of absconding, of buying a ticket
to Yakutsk or Sumatra? That woman could be digging
her way out of snowdrifts, while her feet stay warm
elsewhere — to the end, running wild.

Wendy Klein

US-born Wendy Klein left forever in 1964 and gypsied around Europe as a single mum, coming to rest in England in 1971.  A retired psychotherapist, she believes in the healing properties of dogs and dancing and hopes to be humanely destroyed if she is deprived of either. She is about to publish her third collection, Mood Indigo (Oversteps Books). She has won many poetry prizes and been widely published from Smiths Knoll to The Frogmore Papers.

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