Sipping tea
in front of Sephora,
with my husband,
the third one.

I watch the girls from the cosmetic counter
huddle together, dressed in black smocks,
full painted lips, coal-colored hair,
coiled chignons.

What are they thinking? I wonder.
My husband looks at them,
then at me. Why does it matter?
It matters to me. I have questions.

I want to ask them how it feels to be beautiful.
I don’t remember.
I want to know if they know they are beautiful.
I never knew.

Yesterday, between forkfuls of scrambled egg whites
I visit with Cheryl, once a great beauty,
After 60, she says, you’re invisible
and I’m ok with that.

I am not ok with that.
I am not ok with vanishing.
I am not ok with fading away.

Later, alone by the fire
I see my reflection as it
dances along the flames.
It twirls, bows, then stops.

Once I watched a woman disappear.
Sequined and red-lipped she took a bow,
then in the flick of a magician’s baton
she vanished; a magic trick.

Photo by PH romao on Unsplash

Linda Laderman

Linda Laderman is a 72 years old poet, a grandmother (a job that she claims is so much easier than that of a mother) and a working freelance writer. She lives in the Detroit area with her husband, the third one.