Sister in law Gin brings me National Trust furniture polish
She is worried not that, with her arthritis giving her gip,
She can no longer use the polish, but rather
That she needs to find a new home for it.
On the tin is a maid, white apron, black dress, keys,
Polishing a table, the centre of which she cannot ever reach.
The polish is ‘hand made, in small batches
using traditional manufacturing methods.’
‘I think,’ I say to Gin, ‘they mean bees.’
Around this image is printed: ‘as used in National Trust properties.’
‘Continue to burnish’ I read, ‘until a shine appears, then buff.’
We see the maid polishing round and round, slowly
Stretching, creating swirling universes of shine.
‘She has her work cut out for her,’ Gin says to me.
‘I hope,’ I say to Gin, ‘she takes her boots off one day,
Climbs on the table and dances her stockinged feet
In a quickstep or a Charleston, to polish that centre.
‘Till the table reflects the chandeliers,’ says Gin.
‘Till the centre cannot hold,’ I say.
My daughter in law receives five beautiful little boxes,
Calvin Klein perfumes, nested perfectly into one larger box.
She needs to find them a good home.
“You’d like these, Hon?’ Mia says to me.
I nod. Five empty boxes. Opportunity knocks.