Two Portraits Of My Great-Aunt

Your head is twice the size
It ought to be. You stare
Over your right shoulder
As though your bones have fused.
Those hands! Those hands
Like slabs of sculpted pork.

You pose as though you've been
Welded into double layer corsets
Underneath the rigid folds
Of black, respectable and lacquered silk.

Who was the idiot with the brush?
Did he affect a painter's smock?
Perhaps he wore a beret.
Perhaps he squinted at you
Past an upright brush.

Who paid him for this rubbish?
Great-uncle Sam? Did you marry
Someone conned so easily?
Or was he so in love with you
He saw only what he knew of you?
And did you keep this gilt-framed incompetence
Because you loved him?

This is not how I remember you.
Your body when I knew it,
Plump and warm with your complacent age
Was something to be nestled to.
Your lovely jowls quivered as you read to me
The silly exploits of a silly bear
And the skin along your finger
Gleamed with the crinkly patina of age
As you pointed to each word.

Derek Crook

If you have any comments on this poem, Derek Crook  would be pleased to hear from you.