Health Check

Penny Feinstein

Shorter by two inches, you tell me,
wider by...a distance;
and my cholesterol, the wrong sort,
makes you knit your pencilled brows
and 'Tut!'

You batter me with measurements
– your articles of faith – that sum up
my unfitness. 'Life choices' you coo,
but I hear One hundred lines
to be written in your lunch hour

What do you want? Isn't it enough
that I can walk the gritstone edge among rocks
green with lichen in the flat winter light,
the bare birch woods on the slope below
shimmying like drifts of purple smoke?

You are so fearful of death! You would have me
clamber into my nineties and think the job well done,
when they would feed me khaki pap on a plastic spoon
and tuck my grey fringe off my face with a little girl hair slide –
'My, aren't we pretty today!'

Penny Feinstein

Photograph: Roger Cornwell

Penny Feinstein started to write poetry when she retired to Derbyshire after teaching and raising a family in London. She workshops her poems with a group of critical friends, and her poems have been published in magazines including Staple, Second Light and competition anthologies.

She was commended in the firstBlinking Eye poetry competition, run by Jeanne Macdonald (herself published by Diamond Twig). This poem was included in the anthology The Ticking Crocodile (Blinking Eye).


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© 2004 Penny Feinstein: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.