Afterwards, mother offered
tea in bone china
spiked with roses, edged with gold.
The sugar tongs we never used
lay centre stage on the lace tablecloth.
His fingers struggled with the fine cup.
Mother looked away when a stain
bled across the virgin white.
In the next room, I smoothed down
the pleats of my school uniform,
pulling up my socks
as far as they would go.