Drycleaners: London and Paris
A little girl like a shepherdess receives
my knit top with a tomato stain
and returns the docket. Tuesday.
On Tuesday it’s hanging on a hanger
the spot shrunk but still visible.
I can’t complain to a shepherdess
who has lost one stain but carries its ghost
in her demeanour like a lost lamb.
I take it to another drycleaner.
In Paris the spot is onion soup.
Briskly it is frowned over: one week
to remove it, Madame. Not sooner.
It will take a special discovery of benzene
an accident like Tarte Tatin
and rows of girls in chemises
sweating over garments in poor ventilation.
No wonder we should sniff at improvements
in Paris and failure in London.