Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What Serves

What Serves
Patricia Budd

With rag and pink crème,
I polish the silver
for Sunday dinner;
place settings, sugar bowl,
and footed creamer.
I rinse each piece
in a pan of hot water,
buff with a linen tea-towel.

The patina of the knife blade,
broken by scrolled letters:
M. J. G. from Almon. 
Stamped on the back
of the ornate handle,
a single word: COIN
A matching fork,
tine-tips pronged
like the beak of a hawk,
the better to serve slices
of butter in cracked ice. 

Martha, wife to Levi Gilman,
Great Great Grandmother,
passed it up the family tree,
branch by branch, to me.

But who was Almon:
a spurned Lothario?
doting uncle?
the man behind the faint smile
that plays on Martha’s lips
in her daguerreotype? 

What need in us is served
to churn the legends
clabbered from cream
spilled so long ago?


Patricia Budd graduated Sarah Lawrence, 1959.  She is a retired professional computer engineer, lives in Portland, Maine, received an MFA from Stonecoast in July, 2006. She teaches at the Osher Institute at USM. Her poems have been published in MARGIE, Alehouse, The MacGuffin and among other journals and websites.

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