Her Dressing Table, like an Old-Style
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 hair—floor-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 her—to
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.