I take shelter under the bridge

and feel like weeping just a little

for no good reason I can think of

except maybe the rain encourages it

and the recent memory

of two women, centuries apart …


In Berlin the bust of Nefertiti

almost unravels me;

all that power, religious and political

and what do we name after her

but the Nefertiti Neck Lift!

Beyond cosmetics

there is the vulnerability

of the trachea,

the whited out left eye,

time-nibbled ears,

nuanced lines of ageing

and the burden of such a name –

‘the beautiful one has come’.


In Sturovo at the thermal baths

another woman floats on her back,

arms suspended effortlessly from her sides

as a man barely holds her feet in his hands

and crouched just like that

walks somehow, perhaps on his knees,

slowly steering her through the warm water,

circling and weaving through the rest of us

without once taking his eyes from hers,

all the blemishes on her skin transformed

into floating lilies, the soft rain falling

(how could it not?) in silent applause …