A pleasant stock image of three generations of women

The Friday Poem: ‘The invisible years’ by Mary-Jane Duffy

New verse by writer Mary-Jane Duffy.


The invisible years


The invisible older woman is in focus now.

Sorry, she has you in focus now. She looks

at you. She wants so much to look at you.

She’s invisible. No one notices her. Good.

The invisible older woman sneaks

around the corner following that couple.

Is he really dragging her along like a doll?

The invisible older woman arrived

on the street too late for that young

transgender person. She is so sorry.

The invisible older woman is grey haired

and wiry. The invisible older woman

is sinuous and sharp. She has whiskers

that feel things. That feel you. The invisible

older woman watches from her high seat

at the bar. Did he just touch that girl’s

arse? Look at her body language man

she can’t get away from you fast enough.

Her brown eyes flash. She walks the streets

every morning checking on the dogs

that will be locked up all day. The invisible

older woman whispers to the babies.

The invisible older woman makes curries

that speak to you. The invisible older

woman gives you a necklace that alerts

you to trouble. The invisible older woman

stands on the beach. She has invented

baskets to filter the plastic from the water.

She must launch them now. The invisible

older woman builds a makeshift shelter

from cardboard for the man shuffling

in the park with his backpack and all

his belongings. He won’t freeze tonight.

The invisible older woman speaks in your ear,

time to go home now. You know she’s right.

You’ve had enough to drink. She needs

to go now too. There is much to do.


Mary-Jane Duffy, 2018

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