A Respectable Price
My mother, mistress of the sugar-dredger
the butter-roll scoop, sugarcube tongs
the cakestand, meatsafe, breadbin
milkpan, carving knife
jam spoons, serving spoons, soup ladle
teapot stand, tea caddy, tea cosy
crumb brush, crumb tray
serviette rings, waterjug, decanter and
bedroom bowl and jug
jelly moulds, matching candlesticks
button-hook, darning mushroom
needlework box, laundry chest, footstool -
Queen of ashtrays and firebellows
lace doilies, flycovers, traycloths
sugarbowls, jampots, fishknives
cruet-stand, mustard bowl, coffee spoons
bolster cases, hotwaterbottle covers
glasscloths, toffeehammers, nutcrackers
Guardian of prayerbooks and hymnbooks
filler of holywater stoups, getter of
- and dusting, dusting, dusting.
scrubber of draining-boards, scourer of
pans and baths
polisher of brass taps, carrier of trays
blacker of grates, bleacher of whites
starcher of collars, ironer of shirts
finder of buttons, sewer of hems
knitter of jumpers, darner of socks
maker of rugs, poster of letters
scrubber of step, answerer of door.
Empress of crumbs, mould, damp
coal-dust, slack, dustbins.
Enemy of mites, cockraches, grubs
moths, woodlice, weevils, spiders, mice.
Queen of the home, but past the front door
the question was never asked nor answered.
now there is glass between me and these
unnamed, unclaimed, their owner gone,
all stacked in junkshop windows.
I cannot reach and take, nor touch ;
the pricetag (facedown) prevents.