The Chenille Tablecover.

“You don’t want to keep this, do you?”
A question thrown away with a glance,
expecting the answer, no.
A chenille tablecover is hauled out,
held up,
displayed like an ancient shroud.
Limp.
Unresisting.
Threadbare.
Its day has passed,
It’s purpose gone.

And yet………..
I remember a small child
who hid underneath it
peering from beneath the fringe.
A small child who got into trouble
for discovering the satisfying way
that the tassels on the edge
could be ravelled and unravelled
over and over again.
A small child who leaned forward
to pick at the weak points in the cloth
where the geranium pot stood,
and made little piles
of green fuzz,
injuring my grandmother’s pride.
A chenille tablecover
was a mark of self respect.
“In this house we clear the table,
put things away,
keep things nice.”
My hiding place was safe,
warm, respectable.
Under the dark folds
of its embrace
nothing could hurt me.

Yes I want it,
of course I want it.
It is a tattered standard to raise
in honour of my childhood.
A relic that can never be thrown away
which bears the marks of innocence
fear and love.

chemille-tablecloth

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