Gray Lady

By Joseph Hesch


This porch’s cracked and dry boards show
the greyness of its age through what once
was a smooth coat of russet color.
She’s like a sleepy, sunning,
henna-rinsed Palm Beach dowager,
facedown and well-done,
with the top of her bikini unhooked.
If that lady were mine, I’d make sure
she kept her SPF high and fresh
and an umbrella between her
and prying eyes.
I would call that protecting
my investment and maybe a
little neighborhood dignity.
But I live with this ragged deck instead,
and I’ve dawdled much too long,
the time for preventative protection past,
the sun leaving incurable scars
and lesions on her.
This do-it-yourself deck dermatologist
will make her back smooth and true again.
I will respectfully conduct this surgery,
in deference to the old dear’s age,
with a gentle hammer and
a dignified circular saw.


Photo by Bill Frazzetto


I posted this poem today because I haven’t done much over the past week–a week of vacation–other than work on a lengthy to-do list. I had no idea that my dVerse Poets Pub colleague Victoria Cereto-Slotto would ask for a poem based on Texture as part of her Poetics feature this afternoon.  I’d say “Gray Lady” fits the bill. Don’t you?  Careful of splinters!

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22 thoughts on “Gray Lady

  1. Only you could make chores so eloquent. The gift of restoration, and with such a gentle touch, is a true gift indeed. I kinda love how you would have protected the lady. It's endearing.

  2. maybe your gray lady is more herself with all the scars and lesions and feels totally unfamiliar after giving her a make-over…smiles and you seem to have a sixth sense as the poem fits the prompt just perfectly..smiles

  3. This is about as textural as you can get, Joe. Fortunately, my husband pretty judicious about water-sealing our deck.I laughed out loud at the metaphor, though. I suppose it could apply to a Palm Desert dowager, too, but when I spend my winters down there, I DO NOT sunbathe, and definitely not in a bikini. LOL! Thanks for joining this.

  4. I'm chuckling here, and I think you've created one of those metaphors that will be with you always–once you've smoothed and covered her cracks, you can get your outdoor decor together and deck her out royally. Great textures, and a sharp wit in this one.

  5. Hey joe,textures and metaphors a plenty, with well written pictures i was royally entertained by your shapes and ideas – a chuckle for sure and some bite to keep the reader on their toes – circular saw – perfect

  6. She’s like a sleepy, sunning, henna-rinsed Palm Beach dowager, facedown and well-done, with the top of her bikini unhooked.Wow, those are some lines! Thank you for the laugh and the well textured metaphor.

  7. Ha! Joe, you make me smile. Even before I read your comment I was thinking guilt over the vacay at home to do list! Love the words, the descriptions, all of it. If anything, grey lady inspired this fantastic write before stepping aside for a fresh painted lady at the hands of the saw!

  8. This is a favorite for sure, Joe. So good. And, who would think you could make such poetry out of tedium. You made the gray lady come to life, and textures were everywhere in this piece. Love it 🙂

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