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From The Farm Accounts of Mrs. C. Jones

ISSUE:  Fall 2004

Southwest Wales, 1792

Wheat, mostly, to David Davies,
flax to the Owens, every month
a careful list of profit
and expense. The leather, dyed
the gold of ale, still feels rich,
the brass clips still click
neatly into place. Her pantry
catalogue is filled
with jellied plums and eggs
preserved in lime, vermicelli
and chocolate enough
to last through a Carmarthen
winter. Cash on hand
for necessities unpredicted.
Look, here she has sketched
her winter work: copying
a pattern of pleats from those
on the skirt of one Miss Jeffries.
How smoothly they lay
against her slim calves
when she wore the dress
to the Christmas tea.
Not like the gloves, stitched
with intricate vines and leaves.
The light was low—the evenings
coming so early!—but even
without her spectacles, worn
by day for mild short-sightedness,
Mrs. Jones was able to count
them, all those lovely,
almost mathematical folds.


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