Woman Crying by Fernando Botaro
Mrs Kelly in her morning flannel
Ducks out into icy air to grab the milk
Then slams the door of her cosy detached
Double glazed, heavy curtained, neat house
With heat saving sash.
The Kettle burbles on the spotless alabaster top
She starts another day like all her days
Receding into a pale imprint
Soon forgotten, of no consequence
No moment, no import, nothing
To record except a line of dazzling clothes
A clean worktop, a shining floor,
Gleaming brass on her proud hall door.
Once, she planned to be a scientist
Her dad, he said, she’s good enough,
But somehow, between this and that
She ended up with three children
A man, a dog and an elegant cat.
It does niggle her now and then
Like this cold morning between nine and ten
Instead of cups and dirty spoons
She might be in her lab till noon.
Discovering cures and finding ways
To counter time and assuage it’s ravages.
Alas she’s traded charts and hieroglyphs
For soap and bills and shopping lists.
In the long nectar-sweet grass
She relinquised all, gave everyting
To the swooning sky and her lover.
Take me she whispered
Take me, you are all I desire
I am yours she gasped, spreading
Soft thighs to quench the fire
I am yours he sighed.
And the whirling syrup sun
Seared the moment forever
In her mind, forever rememberd
As now when it’s pale morning
Light inclines through her crystal
Windows, recalling the throb
And hectic heat of loves brave time.
And later, married, when the first
Passion was forgot, she wondered if ever
The blood would tumble in
Torrents till she could not think
Till she surrendered to the swarming fever
Once more, just once more
To feel young, to feel irrisistible.
Then he devoured her with his hot look,
Which she pretended not to see
But sustained the love thread
With a timely glance that lingered longer
Than casual interest.
The frequent chance encounters till
It was easy to believe that destiny
Could not, would not, allow them to deceive
Their true hearts.
They flew into the love frenzy
Ravished each other ‘til
The crude odour and sweat of reality
Smashed the fantasy and they saw
The lie and shamefaced pretended
It was too fierce a fire
To last and she was once more
Mrs Kelly wondering in her shiny
Kitchen what it all meant,
Was passion now forever spent.
But no, the ache continued, the void
That yawned blackly when her guard was down
“She is good enough, a clever child” her teacher said
“She has choices, anything she wants”
Her mother gloated, her father read
The syllabus for medicine and higher maths,
Science, engineering, not art, no jobs in that.
“The world is her oyster” her uncle said
“We should all be proud, she has brains alright
Runs in the family, she’ll astound us yet”
Stupid man, he thought he was the family sage
Thought wisdom guaranteed with age.
But still, yes still, she had hoped despite
The shallow words, the prophesy was right
And even now at forty eight
After love’s dissappointment
Is it too late?
Children, home, these are wondrous works
The holy priest was suave and spoke
In pious tones.
Think of Martha’s work at home
But what about me, me she cried
God sees all, your reward is great
Humility is the way, serenely he replied.
The cross is heavy but must be borne
Seek Jesus, he’ll show the way, the light
Pray, repent, renounce the sinful flesh
Learn purity from the Virgin blest.
And for a while the balm of prayer
Eased the pain and quelled the fear.
Novenas, masses, benedictions
Scapulars and holy water
Incense, rosaries and deprofundis
She gave everything once more
To a new lover, Jesus, her chaste paramour.
But like before the passion waned
Until the empty rattle of her beads
No more anaestetised the pain.
She lies, love-spent, upon her back
Her once young lover, old and slack
Toiling to reclaim the past
And force a sultry climax ‘til at last
She moans, not in joy, but tired relief
Her body once again her own
To nurse the ancient grief.
Does he not remember
The honey days
When words made them weak
Does he not remember the love look
That made them breathless
And the singing
That sundered heart and body
Till joyously she opened wide
To the hot spew of life.
Mrs Kelly in her morning flannels
Sighs and pours another cup of tea
God, if there is a God she thinks
Is this the way that life should be?