Broken Plates and Hootchie Cootchi
I was raised with manners.
Knowing each of the forks, knives and spoons,
where they went and what they did,
each piece of silver having a place
in a well-ordered universe.
Raised to know what to say
and what not to say and the timing of each.
Restraint a value. Emotions less so
because they are not a thing you control,
apt to being inappropriate, disturbing the peace
that was never quite as peaceful as it seemed.
There is a part of you that sits at tea time
with an urge to sweep your arm across the table,
sending teapots and silver crashing, breaking,
causing other at the table to wake up with wide eyes
and you climb to the tabletop to dance
a bit too much like Mata Hari for their comfort.
You would probably not be invited again.
But they’d never forget you
and there are worse ways to be remembered.
About this poem
Inspired by me breaking a plate at breakfast yesterday.
I had a great aunt Helen who taught us all the importance of the proper fork and knife at the table. She was a product of the Victorian Age, and died in our house of cancer the year I turned sixteen. I’ll never forget her.
Most of the people in my family I remember most vividly were a little outrageous, I often wished I had the courage to be like them.