Glass Cream Pitcher
Its sharply faceted surface
catches the one stray ray of
light in an otherwise gloomy day,
sparkles in a frivolous
life of its own, this well-traveled
cut glass cream pitcher
of my grandmother.
Bought when both the century and her marriage
were young and hopeful, carried gently
from the New Jersey china closet for
every celebration touching
food and family, however small,
given to a treasured granddaughter
leaving for the ends of the earth—
Now I hold in my hands again
the cream pitcher from my ex
daughter-in-law, its sun-trapped
glitter a sad substitute
for the marriage left in shards behind.
Published in Rattlesnake Review, 2004
I get invited
to a spa afternoon—
pale tones on nails,
soft music bathing
the senses that aren’t
I want to go
but the long drive
is only one
of the issues.
I think of all those women,
needing a day away
from kids, husband, job.
I hear their stifled gasp
when I pull off my shirt,
one breast sagging,
the other gone.
I stay home in the rain
content with cat, book and tea,
think of the women
sharing their young
Published in Atlantic Breast Cancer Net, Canada, 2005
Every Tuesday the ritual unfolded:
the basket of willow rods,
Dad's white broadcloth shirts
stiff with starch, the coke bottle
with sprinkler head attached,
the careful folding of dampened lengths
rolled into long sausages --
shirts, napkins, tablecloths, blouses,
the full cotton skirts in their gardens
of red and yellow, blue or green checks,
Scottish plaids gathered into a circle
on a tight waistband.
Even on Tuesday in July's broiling sun,
that female figure bent over the narrow board,
left hand crimping and smoothing the cloth,
right arm in long sweeps of the hot iron, pushing
the tip lightly into the points of collars,
the box of pleats, the hundreds of gathers.
Every Tuesday of my childhood
I watched her turn down lunch dates,
tell friends she was busy, dodge my father's caresses,
put away card games, rub her arthritic arms
with deep sighs. I saw her regard the slim board
with a look I couldn't decipher
while the hangers of fresh crisp cottons
waited for the next wearing,
the first spill, the curl-up-in-a-chair crease.
By the time I reached twelve, I vowed
I would wear wrinkles and
Tuesday would be a day
made for fun.
Published in The Green Tricycle, 2003
Patricia Wellingham-Jones, a former psychology researcher and
writer/editor, is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work
is published in numerous anthologies, journals, and Internet
magazines, including HazMat Review, Red River Review,
Rattlesnake Review, Phoebe, A Room of Her Own, The Raintown
Review, Up and Under, Ink & Ashes and Niederngasse. Chapbooks
include Don’t Turn Away: Poems About Breast Cancer (PWJ
Publishing), Hormone Stew (Snark Publishing) and Voices on the
Land (Rattlesnake Press). Her website is www.wellinghamjones.com.