I recognise the tingle at my nape
my face melts, oxters darken, make-up slides,
instantly wet through layers meant to cope.
Tissues, useless until the wave subsides,
my bright red fan announces to the place
the hormone flush that’s difficult to hide.
A power surge that leaves me needing ice
or strategies for heading to the loo
to cool against the tiles until all trace
has gone and I can calm this shameful mood.
Responses to the question, You O.K?
are muted by the realm of what’s taboo
for twenty something colleagues – Just my age.
Dismissed as past my prime to their young eyes.
I’m fine. for bosses reckoning my pay.
I know the women I count as allies:
we wear cotton layers, sneak pads up sleeves
take facials, spa days, colour hair with dyes.
Is shrouding symptoms of decay naïve?
It seems the way in films and T.V. soaps.
The end of blood: a gift I can’t conceive.
Sue Spiers lives in Hampshire. A poem was commended in The Poetry Society’s stanza competition and she’s published lockdown senryu in Plague – A Season of Senryu in July 2020. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Plague-Season-Senryu Sue tweets @spiropoetry