New prose from Shanta Everington

Old Dear
Hayley at the checkout looks through you.  Old Dear.
Stodgy brown shirt barely concealing your lumpiness.
Past your sell-by date, a package not worth opening.
Recoils at the age spots on your crinkly hands as you offer
a white loaf, tin of baked beans and a packet of eggs.
You'll have a ginger cat waiting on the chintz armchair,
a pot with a knitted red and white cosy on the kitchen table;
sip sweet sherry at Christmas, making everyone smile as
you hitch up your frock and sing old tunes with that far away look.
Corned beef sandwiches without the crusts for tea.  Grannie.
You think of Delilah: pert breasts streaked with sticky
purple lipstick.  Free love.  Lean brown legs hanging over
shoulders, wavy hair sticking to lips and eyes, hands fluttering
like birds, your paisley skirt on the floor as the music thuds.
Her face in the morning. Smudged and resplendent.
Two pounds thirty seven, please.  She stares impatiently
at your cracked black leather purse, waiting for you to release
the catch and fiddle about for your five pound note. As you bend,
feeling the arthritis in your hips again, your heart-shaped
tattoo peeps out below your collarbone and winks.
* Shanta Everington is the author of novels – Marilyn and Me (Cinnamon Press) and Give Me a Sign (Flame Books) – short fiction and poetry.

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