Airbrushed each day
in competence activity and rectitude
her face was flawless
free from blemishes
of failure insecurity and sin.
At least everyone thought so
and when asked about her skin regime
she only credited eating lots of butter and olive oil
and the luck of good genetics from her mother
who at 75 had looked no more than 60.
But then the perfect storm
of expectations loss and slaughtered dreams
beyond what she could bear
ripped away her glasses
grayed her hair
and with each squall and tempest
the careful coats of paint
then peeled away
in several shades of hardship
revealing all she’d lived and covered
while extolling optimism.
When the winds had once more calmed
and she first looked in the mirror
she reached from habit
for her brush and powder
to fill the cracks and layers now exposed
but when she took in her reflection
she saw a tender beauty there
from the sadness in her eyes
and weary sallow of her cheeks
to the deepened worry lines along her brow
all a burnished gold patina now
the vulnerability of uncertainty
of living her own truth.
It’s a good sound,
the sizzling and popping
of oil in the pan
over high heat
as the egg is freed from its shell
on its way to becoming breakfast.
The sound of time
and ease and care,
decadent in its
splayed open richness.
Even as the edges are singed—
the stuff of muscle and doing
grown firm and strong
from trial by fire,
the yolk remains
its perfect liquid center, golden orb.
The whole upon the plate
is as resilient
as the human heart cracked open.
A boiled egg, in comparison
in the armor of its calcified shell
reserved, and more demure,
even as it nourishes
In a plane of easy pasture the Sun sets
fire to the last remaining elm before
descending behind a range
of Bens and Glens
leaving no pleasant shade for lovers
only a charred trunk
one more pole
rooted to the beyond
who lends its crippled limbs to carry the wind
strung out on wires
hot with potential
they, a danger to its former leaves
ever a reminder of its own descent
now, electrifying life—
for its transformed self.
Photo by Jamie Burgoyne, used by permission.