After the war they must have wished
to count upon planned things.
Monday, washday; Tuesday, ironing.
Wednesday, I don’t quite recall or
Thursday either.  After all I
was a child.  Friday was
fish day and I hated fish.

My job was polishing the family’s shoes,
all seven pairs, on newspaper
queued along the kitchen table, except Dad’s.
He liked to spit upon and buff his own.
Each Saturday I did this, before weekly bath.
The duties of each day would grow
to habit written in the bone.  It was good
to know the happenings ahead of time.

We children grew to think the order
was inscribed somewhere, in stone.
Not all, but some like me
vowed secretly to do it someday otherwise,
though we weren’t sure what otherwise
would be.  Sunday was church, old relatives,
roast chicken, and ennui.

4 responses »

  1. Strangely, during one summer holiday, the duty assigned to me was polishing shoes. Of everyone in the house. Father, grandfather, mine, my sister’s. Grown-up women, mother and grandmother, did not wear shoes. I am talking about seventies in India. And I would get a few coins each time. Happy memories!

    • As one shoe-polisher to another, I salute you! Most shoes nowadays don’t require polishing, do they? And I’m sitting here wondering why the adult women didn’t wear shoes…that’s interesting. Thanks for visiting, Ankur.

      • To quell any creeping suspicion re. the position of women, dressing was mostly Indian, which was paired with slippers or sandals, mostly open in front. That is why no shoes 🙂

        • I grew up in a time and place rife with feminist warnings about men who wanted to keep us “barefoot and pregnant.”……ridiculous, of course, especially for those who lived in large cities, in New England, with our long, cold winters. We have nothing like the beautiful traditional dress of Indian women, so you might see why I was interested in the question of shoes. Thanks for enlightening me!

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