a hair from her chin –
[Is that really me?
Next will be nanny-goatee!]
The event has sent
herself to spin
in a meadow
of sweet memory –
[and pansies and buttercups]
paper to hang cheer in a girl’s room –
whiteground strewn with posies –
a cure for even teenage depression,
and apparently, it had worked!
Indigo, sanguine orange and yellow –
like lounging inside a cartoon
[the chairs, drapes and bedspread matched,
erasing borders and edges as if you were
weightless in a space capsule or in
a red Matisse gone floral]
I was in school with Zoé,
and now she had brought me
to meet a neighbourhood friend –
Barbara, who was no longer fat,
as if that would identify her
for the rest of her life:
My beloved classmate was still overweight
and somewhat disproportioned, but her friend
from fat camp had remained her friend
and she wanted me to meet her
[which may say a great deal about both of them]
Zoé was fourteen when some genius suggested
hormone injections might streamline her silhouette
but they had only served to produce
a few hairs on her chin. At fourteen.
At least half a century early, by my count.
Anyway, tweezer in hand this morning,
I kept thinking of her and the day we went
to see Barbara-who-was-no-longer-fat
in her outrageously posh bedroom.
I liked her friend alot, but
what I felt for my classmate
was more like love. I loved her voice
her delicate porcelain hands,
the tilt of her head
and the wonders it contained –
she was half-mad and brilliant…
and now, having plucked a grey bristle
from my face, I feel overpoweringly –
belatedly – and so very close to
…a girl I once knew.