Interior with wardrobe mirror

After the painting by Grace Cossington Smith

How civilized in 1955
to have a full-length mirror
so I can turn my back
and stretch my neck around
just so, to check my stocking
seams are straight.
No self-respecting soul
would venture out
with wobbly ones, except
perhaps my paternal aunts
who wouldn’t dare go
anywhere without hats, gloves
and stockings. There they are
today in summer heat, holding
hands as they peer into shop windows
thinking all is well with the world.
How could I break their spell?
No, I cannot tell them ladders
are the order of their day
and pantyhose now holds sway.

Jan Dean


Jan Dean, a former visual arts teacher, lives at Lake Macquarie. Her pocketbook Paint Peels, Graffiti Sings (Flying Islands, Macau 2014) is in English and Mandarin. Four of her poems appear in Just off Message (Interactive Publications 2017). She was awarded Life Membership of Poetry at the Pub, Newcastle in 2018.

© 2018