Too Cold for Snow
Daytimes, she had a job
cleaning rich folks' houses;
she quite enjoyed it, she said,
seeing how the other half lived;
but evenings, she worked a shift
at our local laundry – ‘bag-wash’,
more often than not. Her hands
were always red raw; she hated
that place and so, in a way, did I.
I wanted her to tuck me in
at nights, and not have to cringe
at the feel of the old man’s whiskers...
her cheek I wanted to feel on mine...
her lips I wanted to tell me, ‘Sleep tight.’
Wanted to see moonlight, glint
on her bangles, to hear them jingle,
growing ever fainter as she’d tiptoe
away; like it did in the old days
when my real dad was there.
Too young, as I was then,
to know the true meaning of love –
or a thing about the putting of clothes
on children’s backs on a night
too cold... even for snow.