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jeanne rene watson

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Sophie's Mustache (a sestina)
by jeanne rene watson

Friday, August 11, 2006
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A sestina

Sophie’s Mustache

Sophie’s fine dark mustache competes for attention
with cosmopolitan red slipping into deep creases over her lip.
Every Saturday lunch, pushing remains of pastrami and rye away,
she retrieves the handbag purchased when Eisenhower was in office
and, sans mirror, applies a circle of rouge with self-confidence.
Routinely, a familiar pat of hand, “What a pleasant meal, dear.”

I don’t know why the seat by the corner window is so dear,
but Sophie always lingers. I pretend to pay no attention
while she mumbles conversation, taking in a covert confidence,
and places a slip of pink paper beneath the catsup at the table lip.
Later, arm in arm down Market, she marks the corner office
approaching 3rd Avenue, squeezing my hand and giggling away.

“He tried to make love in the stairwell, but I pushed him away.”
Leaning in, as sixty-odd years disappear, Sophie coos, “Oh, dear!”
Deep wrinkles frame watery eyes, “We finally did it in his office.”
Ageless laughter moves her shoulders and eyes flash to attention.
All too soon recovering dignity, tapping a finger to the lower lip,
lessening her grip, she removes the weight of such a silly confidence.

Memories, for some, are not met with serenity and confidence
or as Sophie muses, “Loneliness cannot be swept away.”
I’ve wondered of Sophie’s perspective, balancing on the brim. . . the lip. . .
threshold of Evermore and gathering unto oneself all that was dear.
The sorting, if you will, of time once given transitory attention,
now to stand in solitary role call, answering to one’s due and office.

Today . . . a rare letter to be mailed at the Post Office.
She searches the address and pats the envelope with confidence.
The purchase of a single stamp and its placement with attention,
the note in Sophie’s hands, seems so tenderly sent away.
I wonder what words, what thoughts she writes, old and dear,
as carefully she drops hope down the depository lip.

There is a gleam shining now above Sophie’s lip.
The heat of the day appears to be holding office
directly over Market St. and despite how dear
are Saturdays, I notice her weakened confidence.
Sadly, we turn in the opposite direction and away
from sights and sounds waiting our attention.

I loved that Sophie ignored her mustached lip with confidence.
It softened goodbye, “Dear, I don’t deserve so much attention."
She’d sign in at the office, smile and slip away.

jeanne rené 08.06

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Reviewed by Paul Judges 12/16/2009
Well done, Jeanne !
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 1/4/2007
Sublime poetry, Jeanne. It reaches the depth of the reader's soul. Thank you for sharing this gift. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Connie Hinnen Cook 8/11/2006
I agree with Richard, never rest your quill. This held me from beginning to end. I felt I was right there with you and Sophie, that dear lady. I hated for it to end.
Write on.
Reviewed by richard cederberg 8/11/2006
This was beautifully and creatively written. Almost like flash fiction adhering to a rigid form.

six six line stanzas and a three line envoy. I was unfamiliar with this sestina form until now. Thankyou!

I enjoyed the reading of SOPHIES MOUSTACHE and would encourage the writer to never rest her quill. Excellent indeed.

In poetic vision ...
Richard Lloyd Cederberg
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