poem: lady clane

woman who gracefully and sometimes
gracelessly took us, an entire
nation of squabbling super-market
mums, plastic bags drooping sadly
with sunday roasts, potatoes ready
to be pulled and plushed — and she sits
in front of the square telly
cutting the vegetables
and sometimes (shite!)
her fingers, watching; lady clane rides
to the cathedral, smiling brightly
and shyly, lace lining her hands
and skinny arms — the empire inside
two blue eyes and only nineteen
years of trying. the husband comes in,
takes off the squash plaid hat, snuffs
the pipe; he kisses his wife
and the daughters, roughs the sons,
already their voices cockney or
posh, churchbell-charmed
and minds dripped in the theories
of the day, and the sex. but shhh, we don’t
discuss lady chatterly on sunday;
they all sit behind curled victorian
china, heritage in plates, and watch:
the lady riding to church,
the splintered holy light, reds and purples
on her face, like she is a queen
or a myth or all of them,
all together.

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