Tante Widad

My grandmother’s sister is a spinster,

She is of the nomadic type, constantly asked to move there from here.

She tries to settle among us and be comfortable.

Attempting to enter the conversation

She talks and no one is listening,

So she removes herself to enter

Her sanctuary and mend.

Shortly she returns clutching to her an ancient purse,

The strap she had been so conscious to apply

Hangs loosely from her shoulder.

She sits in a cold chair that is distant.

I watch her from the armchair in the corner, longing to

Interrupt with a touch or consolation;

But I don’t dare.

Slowly she begins the ritual;

First from the clustered space she pulls a flat thing,

(“A brooch”, she explained once when confusion was on my face)

She fingers it lovingly, before she discovers another love.

This continues for some time until,

Drowned in happiness, she returns

Her past to her purse (from whence it came).

But it is her face that always takes me.

Her eyes are lined with the signatures

Donated as memoirs by every encounter;

And the corners are twisted in confusion.

The two lips are lined crookedly with a deep red,

At an attempt to appear attractive; the color of the lipstick

Bleeding through the cracks and grooves that border her mouth.

She gets up again and leaves.

Twenty years now and I still wonder

And try to recall, when was the first time that

She left and never came back.

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