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Two Silver Ribbons

Poet: R. Angela O’Brien

I was driving for petrol when I saw her walking by the side of the road past an open green patch where the stormwater gathers in  a  tiny lake. She  was   slender

as a willow wand in a mid-shin black skirt made from some lightweight fabric – a cheesecloth,   I think  –   and,      wrapped

near its hem, two broad silver ribbons. She stepped with a swing, the cloth floated and twinkled, flipped by her sandals. It   was the   flickering silver    as

the skirt fluttered I’d noticed. Her hair hung loose and long, down to her waist, a maiden’s glory,   streaked    with    grey.

She would have been eighty, if a day. I could see in her the girl she once was. Fresh and free, lovely and lissome. I had a   skirt   like   that   in my own girlhood –

blue as lapis lazuli, with a pink paisley motif. No ribbons, though, and that brought a pang. Now, dressed in track pants and runners and a sloppy grey shirt, no one would see the girl in me. Sweet Jesus, I thought, what have I lost? What gained, and at such a cost? Then she dropped into rear-view and I turned away from the past to the station and the bustling day.

R. Angela O’Brien is a Tasmanian poet and writer of speculative and literary fiction. She has a PhD in unconscious learning and degrees in psychology, fine art, and mathematics. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in Epiphany, Abyss and Apex; ACEIII, an anthology of short fiction from Australian emerging writers; and the International Journal of the Humanities.

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