Drusilla's at it again,
Seated on the
Red India carpet
Crosslegged beneath
Her skirts happily
Cutting the fabric
For a new dress
For Miss Edith
From the skirts
Of the lady
Of the house
As that
Good woman
Lays there patiently
With the flies buzzing
'Round the wound
On her neck that
Finished her
For good.
This little dress
Is an easy one-
Drusilla's mother,
The soft-armed one
Who liked lemon
Curd on her crumpets
In the winter
And rose-petal jelly
In the summer,
Taught her how to
Make it one
Long autumn
Afternoon
When it was
Unusually warm
As they, meaning
Dru and her sisters
And even papa
Who had come
Out of his den
With his newspaper,
Sat in the garden
Amidst the falling
Leaves and the
Last of summer's
Roses, taking tea.
The sun rises
And Drusilla's busy
Sewing Miss Edith
Her new frock,
With little apron,
Pantalettes and
A matching cap
Just as her warm
Handed mother taught
Her: the hem going so
And the seams going
This way and that
Stitched with
Precision to make
Mummy proud,
With a needle taken
From an overturned
Workbasket in this
Fly buzzing parlor
As the day heats up.
Papa, the cold
Hard one who
Teaches her naughty
Games paces,
Stepping over the
Remains of the
Evening meal, mama
Papa, sister, sister,
Saying, "Damn,
Dru's at it again -
There's no telling
How long this'll take,
I'm bored!"
While her newest
Favoritest boy doll
Sits nearby, watching
Her nimble fingers
Head cocked to one
Side.
Boy-doll, he needs
New clothes too,
Mustn't play favorites!
So Drusilla cuts
More fabric,
This time
From good papa's
Clothing, he too
Does not mind as
He doesn't need them
Anymore, what with
The flies keeping him
Company.
Drusilla's fingers
Remember another
Lesson so that a sailor
Suit comes to life
Suspended between her
Fingers and her needle
While cold hard papa
Who teachers her naughty
Games paces and grandmamma,
The sharp, hard one
Like broken glass
Says, "Her bad spells
Take forever, might as
Well go to bed."
Papa, the cold hard
One, follows her,
Leaving Dru and Miss Edith
And her new boy doll,
The one with the big blue
Eyes and the soft brown
Curls just like she always
Asked Father Christmas
For, as company.
Only
Drusilla doesn't notice
This-
She is singing
In a sunlit garden with
Her other family around her:
Papa reading his newspaper,
Drinking tea,
Her sisters giggling,
Looking for the last of the
Roses among the tired
Bushes, while
Mama guides
Her little hands
Through the dance
Of needle and thread,
The sun warm on all.
Drusilla finishes
By taking the buttons
From the coat of the
Papa with the torn open
Throat, and sewing them
Onto the new sailor suit,
Just like Uncle who
Joined the Navy and sends
Her presents like Chinese
Sewing baskets,
Amber crosses,
and monkeys
Made from seashells,
All smelling of faraway places.
Miss Edith smiles, approvingly;
This new suit is splendid,
All dark blue just like a
Real sailor
In the Queen's navy.
Drusilla turns to pick up
Her new boy doll to
Change his old for new
And he takes her hands
With their burden of
Tiny garments in
His large ones,
Drusilla realizes
That she has made the
Sailor suit too small,
All her work for nothing
And begins to cry
As the sun sets outside
The house that she
Sits in and in the garden
That she once sat in
While her new boy doll
Takes her in his arms,
And rocks her
Wordlessly.