The youngest of the brood
lively, mischievous, a great tease
(hiding in the living room to
hear the courting conversations)
great dark eyes, shining black hair.

Facial hair embarrassed the teenager
so the slender pretty girl was treated
with the latest method, x-rays.

The aunt I knew had a death’s head,
heavy covermark plastered over
the scarred sunken face
above which the fine eyes glittered.

Proud of her figure,
much of her salary went on clothes;
nieces were showered with
finery from her manufacturer friends.

The scandal of her life was never talked of,
how her boss, a lawyer with a family,
comforted the scarred girl.
And all the years that followed
until at last his wife died.

He made an honest woman of my aunt,
but his children would have none of it.
The marriage didn’t last long—
taunts of “Who else would marry
someone with your face?”

Long dead, still to me
a figure of glamour, for her scars,
her sophisticated gifts,
and her wicked ways.

Lari Smith