Autumn 2009 JBWB Poetry Competition Second Prize

Tea at the Ritz

by Carol Rogers

An East End housewife buttons up
her exhibitions with a safe suit
of dull tweed, and a modest blouse,
pastel and prim. Commands her hair
to obey with curlers and spray.
Dons a girdle to prevent an
overbalancing of the cake stand.
Slips into the foyer with sensible
shoes. Plays picky and prevaricates 
over the choice of tea. Assam? No.
Darjeeling? I don't think so.
Early Grey is summoned to attend.

Restraint tugs at her hip bones,
unused to control. Resolve weakens,
mouth waters, at the prospect of
very wanton scones. Strawberries
are plump in the jam. She succumbs to
the great density of fresh cream
and the joy of grown-up make-believe.
Peers over unneeded glasses at all
the comings and goings. An American
tourist is desperate to know:
"Are you Miss Marple?"
"As a matter of fact I am," she nods,
solemnly. "And I 'appen to know
who it was wot dunnit."


©2009 Carol Rogers


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