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Jul 2017
She had a fading tattoo
on her thigh
which caught my eye.

Winnie asked me
to help her
bath Florence
as she was alone
and I wasn't busy.

You don't mind
if Benny helps me
bath you
do you Florence?
Winnie said.

Me?
no make my day
for a young feller
to see my tattoo again
first time
in many years
I can tell you
Florence said.

Used to be
a dancer
back in
the early days
danced on stage
up inΒ Β London
and sometimes
when we toured
we went all
over the place.

Once Winnie
had helped
Florence undress
I saw the tattoo clearer
it was in blue and pink
and was of a dancer
doing the can-can.

Is that what
you did Florence
the can-can?
Winnie said.

Yes that
and other dancing too
did more than
dancing too
other times
she laughed.

I smiled.

She had her
grey hair long now
as Winnie
had unpinned
the hair to wash it.

Had a young feller
who wanted
to marry me
but he got himself
killed at Mons
and that was that.

Another one came
back blinded
and although
I could have
married him
I wasn't keen
on marrying
a blind bloke
you know what
with me dancing
and touring
and having to
help him
I couldn't do it.

I think he married
some other girl.

Florence went quiet
had my chances
but never did marry.

Bet you were a looker
when you were young
Winnie said.

Got a photo
in my drawer
when I was a dancer
one of those sepia jobs
faded a bit like me
but you can see me
as I was then.

We eased Florence
down in the bath.

I wondered how many
other men had seen her
like I did
but didn't ask or say.

Once in the bath
Winnie did her back
and Florence talked on
all about once upon.
BENNY HELPS BATH AN OLD LADY DANCER IN 1970
Terry Collett
Written by
Terry Collett  72/M/England
(72/M/England)   
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