SCRAPING THE BARREL
by Alice Campbell Romano
All your lipsticks are down to their nubs,
even that Florida-hag orange from an event gift bag,
even the purple that makes you look dead
because these last few months
you used them all just to put something on,
leave the house groomed, you know what I mean.
All the nail polish has turned to glue,
and your comb-over is as obvious as a vain old man’s.
You hope you’re disguising your roots.
Lady, that day is here again, and this time
you’re pushing hard at the door of old age.
You recall other times you had to skimp
on the little vanities: most recently
you were fifty, climbing out of Chapter 13.
Hell, Woman, once you were forty,
and still had brains which you used
to fight the creditors
back and back and back.
Girl, all those years,
whenever you ran out of dough
and a decent scented soap
you said a prayer and
shared a room
And took another job.
But it’s so much harder now.
* * * * *
Alice has worked in film and TV in Italy, her native New York and Los Angeles. Her first chapbook of poetry trembles on the brink of completion while she polishes the novel begun at Sarah Lawrence’s Writing Institute. Alice’s poetry and short stories have appeared in Atlantic Review (finalist in International Competition), Antiphon, Mudfish Review, Front Porch Review, Thema, among other on-line and print journals.