One Poem by Michael Caines

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

In the back room

She looks just as she looked in 1963 –
              more or less –
and blushes as she blushed the year before.
              Fashion was
as it is: fickle. They chucked her out in 1964.

Her chipped smile adorned her work for charity
              after that;
her lashes still were levelled as they’d been.
              Bearing what
hand-me-downs she had to bravely, she played the mannequin.

“They shut that hard-up shop and, as for me,
              off I went
to a back-room stocked with unsold tableware.
              No, I don’t
miss wigs or coats or evening wear – I miss the view, the air . . .”

The eyes do not adjust, merely degrade. The sea,
              out of sight,
erodes each day, and she, as if entranced,
              listens. It
could all change. It could – again – one day! But she’s not convinced.


Michael Caines lives in London, and has had recent poems commended in the Battered Moons and Culpepper’s Remedy competitions.

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