Please Pardon Our Appearance

by Christine Adams Beckett

Come along, Dear,

She didn’t heed,

The little girl with dirty knees

And simple needs:

Popcorn, with extra butter.

The theatre was closed,

Temporarily,

It’s windows papered

While others labored

For something altogether new.

Peeled back, like

The rough hem of a curtain,

A fitting room

Where women groomed:

Work boots, revealed.

She doesn’t know,

Quite yet, the social mores,

Of personal space,

The essential grace

Of privacy, of convention.

Curious of what happens

Behind the drapes

We draw for ourselves

Where tortuous elves

Tear everything down.

Hard work, a boulot,

More mundane in French:

The rituals of preservation,

Of salvation,

Of rising out of the ashes.

Leave them be, Dear,

An outstretched hand, to

Teach the child,

Ignore the junk, piled

And patiently await the Phoenix.