Catalogues for the More Mature Woman by Sarah J Bryson

They slide heavy through the letterbox,
sheathed in plastic film, mixed in with charity
begging letters, and Estate Agents’ boasts.

The images within their glossiness entice her;
she returns again and again to feast her eyes
on the rich-coral swing coat, the double spreads

of soft cashmere knitwear (on sale at prices
never to be repeated) and this coming season’s dresses,
skirts, and blouses, in bright cotton flower-prints

displayed on slim, un-flawed models, snapped against
sun-filled backdrops of Natural Trust beauty spots.
She turns down pages at the corner to revisit each one

to play with the idea of trying them on in her mind,
colour matching this against that, considering the cost,
and when she might wear them, knowing that the wardrobe

is full already. She tells herself she doesn’t need them.
But time passes slowly, alone so much of the time
and later she gives in to temptation. She dials

speaks to a polite girl, a quiet girl who sweet-talks her,
who calls her Mrs, respectfully, not by her first name
unbidden, and she confirms her dreams in an order,

guiltily with her credit card number, then waits those slow
days for parcels, anxiously now, already weighted
with the dread of disappointment.

Sarah J Bryson is a poet and hospice nurse. She runs occasional poetry workshops, and more regularly she works in care homes as part of a project taking poetry into residential care. Her poetry has been placed in competitions and published in anthologies, in journals and on line.