Its smooth, soft touch was amplified
on her dried, hardened fingers,
like a pay rise
in a poor man’s stomach.
Chewing back overgrowth
each cut and clean
tears off decay,
layers of her skin:
scars of perfectionism
praying that the roaring jets
will take her with her life's toil,
but wilting posture grows closer
to the short stalks she straightens daily.
In a world of contradictions,
where the Company
cares for children
and brings families to work
so they need never leave,
and pays in loans,
so they never can.
We cannot beautify the world
only transfer ugliness to others,
to paint fields of future fashion trends abroad.
As she sealed another box of frozen smiles
and farewelled the driver with a stiffening grin
as they journeyed
to where the low-flying planes
touch the earth.
Which thawed and unpacked in a distant land,
and adorned between the words he couldn't say,
rotted before she forgave him.