Poem – old lady smell

She arrives, shaggy
shambling, shuffling
shopping bag in tow,
big enough for a child.
Barely able to lift it,
it contains all the cares in the world
and a bakers’ dozen of romance books.

dressed in flowers and lace
a bag-like shroud
big enough to cover
almost everything,
large, shapeless
stitched from ten thousand days
of regret and disappointments.

Her aroma arrives before she does.

A dance of cat
marking territory
relieving, discharge
doing a tango with her own
soaked through, layered
and a third partner,
waiting for the dance –
flowery perfume to match
with the other two
sometimes stepping on their feet.

Any one
would be enough
to stop me

but all three
arrest me, full stop
like a police officer
like a spike strip
like a strip search.

The day is over
from that point onwards.