She kept a smart house, even when alone.
She was carefully turned out, fastidious and
Fair-skinned, make-up done, each jewel stone
In her brooch brilliance itself. When she'd stand
Over her stick in the butcher's queue, calm
And quiet, not looking curiously around, you loved
Her for it, her voice like the silver in her palm
Shone, each word a silver coin tipping from a gloved
Hand. And you admired her for holding
Together what could come apart, the will she had
To battle on. Only letting herself in the unfolding
Ritual of going to bed, closing eyes, to become sad.
She fears not pain but the loss of dignity.
She fears not emptiness but our empty pity.