TWO MAIDS RISING.

Bells ringing. St Martin’s Or St Paul’s. Polly doesn’t Know. Turns over in the

Creaky double bed. Feels Susie’s feet in her side. She opens her tired eyes.

The attic is still there; she Must have dreamed of Another room. She sniffs

The air. Coldness, urine From the chamber pot Beneath the bed, staleness.

She stares at the off-white Ceiling pushes Susie’s feet From her side. She heard

Her snoring in the night, The short cries. The ceiling Has cobwebs, spiders sitting

In corners. She turns and Faces Susie’s face poking From the blankets. Her

Breath smelling of night, Her hair messed up, her Eyes tight shut dreaming

Of better places. Time to Move. Time to wash and Dress. Ice in the washbowl.

Clothes folded on the chair. She pushes back the blankets And sits on the edge of the

Bed, her feet dangling, her Heels touching the chamber Pot. Fireplaces to clear out,

Fires to prepare and light. Down to the kitchen to help The cook with the breakfasts.

Susie still sleeps behind her. Shame to wake her. A maid’s Work is never done. She shakes

Susie’s shoulder, calls her, shakes Her again. Susie stirs, opens her Eyes, stares, passes wind. Closes

Her eyes, shuts out the day, hears Polly’s voice drowning out the Kiss of sleep. Her shoulder shaken,

The blankets dragged off, the cold Air bites flesh, the smell of urine And staleness hits her nose, the

Day begins, the bells cease ringing, Just the voice of Polly riding the Cold air as she opens her eyes to stare.

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