You wouldn’t think these big tough bees,
decked out in their dress uniforms,
would give the time of day to that line
of overspent mum that sigh and swan about
in their crushed gowns, frizzed hair, faded make-up.

But here it is, the last dance, the sweet
sad foxtrot of November rising in the smoky air,
so they amble up, arms out, heads bent low,
to proffer their last requests.

It’s the wee hours of autumn, after all;
everything’s a bit desperate, hope itself
willing to cling to even second-rate beauty
if it means some measure of warmth.