A Lady

A Poem

Daniela Dragas


Image by Debbie

From the ‘Letters to my Daughter’

The other day, I was standing in the supermarket queue

behind a woman with two small children and a pile of nappies inside the trolley,


with a loaf of bread, a wedge of hard-edged cheese, and a bunch of cherry-red tomatoes in the basket,

when the woman shifted, and

a girl no older than you smiled at me above the partition.

She’d caught the edge of my tattoo, beneath the collar of my t-shirt, and

asked, as though it were the most ordinary thing to be asking grocery shoppers — Is that a tattoo? What is it? … Looks like a lady?

Her words sprinkled the air between us like celestial confetti, and

I looked up from the screen displaying purchases and

saw it then — tiny sparkles of green and gold in her eyes, almondy and smiling, like yours.

And I smiled then, smiled at her and said, Yes, it is a lady, a portrait of a lady.

She smiled back and scanned the items from my basket,

as I turned my gaze elsewhere, pretending to be occupied by the arms of the clock on the wall,

so she would not see tears in my eyes,

while she wished me a good day and said,

It’s a lovely tattoo you have… of a lady.

Thank you for reading.