Poetry Porch: Poetry


Her Dressing Table, like an Old-Style Altar
by John Hildebidle

A thing of such glass and perfume.
Three mirrors make so many of her,

while she brushes out, even in summer heat,
that hairfloor-length! A smile toys
with her mouth. Does she know I’m a spy at the door?

She always lets me do what I want
while we make our yearly visit.
My mother grumbles. Poppop, worn

but genial, slips me quarters
to take to the corner for snow-cones
and chats with George, who rocks

and tells stories of when Babe Ruth
was a schoolboy wonder. Two years ago
George gave me a mitt the shape of none other

I’ve seen, the smell of leather long-used
and accommodating. Even in the morning
dead still and already hot, I was second up

just after herto creep down
the carpeted hall and watch

in devotion and puzzlement. So many bottles,
each stoppered with glass. Once I snuck in
at midday and opened every last one

and let dizziness roll over me like a fine cooling wind.
“Such work, such work, Little One. To stay beautiful”
as the brush slid electrically down and again down.

Copyright © 2003 by John Hildebidle.