Years – A Woman at Forty by Enid Shomer


This poem can be found in the anthology “When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” edited by Sandra Martz.


A Woman at Forty
by Enid Shomer

A woman at forty
stands long at her mirror
as though it were a pool
that could smooth
the distortions of her face.

On the street she walks
as if each step led her
to an altar, and any corner
might straighten out
her life.

She cultivates flowers,
drapes everything with polished chintz.
Among friends she speaks little
but her hands, moving from hair
to lips to lap

tell the same story
as the bit actress
who inadvertently points to herself
as she declaims the entrance
of the queen.

At night she listens for a knock
on the door, though everyone
she knows is asleep.
Through her window stars
which once granted wishes
are burning as they retreat.