What you don’t realise, Madame Laurent declares
Is that every sixteen-year-old is beautiful.
The boys titter, looking around the class.
A good joke for les autres later, in the yard. The handful of girls blush.
Yet now, when I think of Madame’s words
Her wrinkled visage and shaky eyeliner, thick as slugs on her lids,
If I look back at photographs of us taken in the half-light of our school years
I creep towards understanding Beauty:
That unstained palette before life begins,
Each colour fresh and vibrant
Before they blend and blur into grey.
Tamiko is a half-Japanese mother of two. When there's no pandemic, she's hired as a wedding pianist from time to time. She has work published or forthcoming in Pandemic Magazine, Poetry and Covid, New English Review, DeRailleur Press, Pure Slush Lifespan (Friendship volume), Rising Phoenix Review, Broadkill Review, Impspired, Whimsical Poet, Songs of Eretz, miller’s pond, Grand Little Things and Littoral Magazine. She was longlisted for the Plough Poetry Prize 2021.
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