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Mother's Company, a poem by Marjie Giffin

Mother’s Company
by Marjie Giffin

Mother is having company.

It’s been years, but I still recall
turkey platters and gilded plates,
soup tureens with china ladles,
crystal stemware and cubes of ice
that clinked together musically.

There were lavender-scented soaps
tucked amidst lacey table linens
in drawers so laden with heirlooms
that Mother would strain to pull
their polished, glistening handles.

I could breathe in and catch
the scent of Chanel No. 5;
I would steal a peek and see
her lips pursed before the glass
as she coated them with red.

Today’s company is being served
on paper plates on a kitchen table
so crammed with paraphernalia
that the tasteless sandwiches
almost tip off its edge.

Photos, stacks of letters, nail files,
coupon boxes, hosiery eggs –
all compete for centerpiece space
and the attention of the
curious guests who dine.

One of the favored few shaves
with an electric razor in between
snatches of conversation, bites.
Another, his wife, balances her plate
protectively between two dry elbows.

I make clever talk with both, knowing
I will have hours later to cry.

Bio: “I am an Indianapolis writer who has recently been published in Poetry Quarterly, Flying Island, Snapdragon, Words and Sounds, and in a teaching anthology. I am active with the Indiana Writers Center and participate in many workshops.”