On Holly's 50th birthday, which has been "rushing at me/like a cinderblock wall while I try/in vain to slam on the brakes," she has her first hot flash.
It happens for the first timeThis is light verse, yet it strikes close to the bone. Many of these feelings are covered up because no one wants to hear them. Menopause is a relief-- no more tampons or sanitary pads--but at the same time it means you're not young anymore. In our family we all have early menopause, which makes one feel MORE freakish.
on the very day I turn fifty--
a scrim of sweat
cloaks my body,
beading on my upper lip,
misting on my forehead,
gathering in a steaming pool
between my shoulder blades
as if a tiny cup of liquid lightning
in each one of my cells
has just bubbled up, burst ablaze,
and cremated me,
And how about the time at the supermarket when the hunky cashier looks Holly up and down? She thinks he's flirting, but then he asks if she wants the senior discount.
She calls herself the hunchback of Neiman Marcus after she glimpses herself in the mirror and notes the beginning of a dowager's hump.
I glance in a mirror at my own posture
and am appalled at how
my head's jutting forward,
as if it's trying to win a race
with the rest of my body.
I'm stunned by the gorrilla-esque curve
my spine seems to have taken on,
as though determined to prove
once and for all
that evolution really did happen.
The light verse is engaging and well-wrought, though sometimes as a novel it breaks down. There isn't much conflict or plot. But it is "chick lit" for women of a certain age, very good of its kind, and I liked it very much.