A week of poems: Elizabeth Smither’s ‘Drycleaners: London and Paris’

 

 

 

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.

 

 

©Elizabeth Smither

 

 

 

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