Women at Forty
Women at forty wake at dawn,
rising in the morning's dark
to pray, and bathe, and plait their hair
before beginning the day's work.
They open windows, water plants,
and watch the traffic on the street.
They move among the quiet rooms,
keeping the house and kitchen neat.
Women at forty watch soaps and talk shows.
They read advice columns in magazines.
They get facials done, and manicures,
to feel briefly like a queen.
Come afternoon, they sit outside
school gates and await the final bell.
They heal cuts and scrapes with kisses,
knowing their maternal offices well.
At night, they sit with needle and thread
to patch up holes or seams rent apart
in youthful games, mending all
except the rift deep within their heart.