Stacey Lynn Brown

Gaither Memory, Every Working Day

Me in play clothes, her masquerading

as a maid: no short black skirt and feather

duster but a stiff brown dress with white

stitched pockets where she kept tissues

and half-smoked ducks.


Perched on top of the white deep

freezer next to the ironing board,

I kept her company while she did

chores: dousing water from an old

Coke bottle on badly wrinkled shirts,


spitting to check the iron’s flat

metal heat, mating socks and snapping

sheets. The best part of her day

was my worst: changing back into

her street clothes, hanging up


the uniform, Bony Maroni

all angles and knees in castoff threads

and hand-me-downs. I’d walk her

to the street to wait

for the bus that carried her home


two transfers and three hours later,

and stand waving goodbye

in the black diesel fumes

while my mother called me in to eat

the supper left warming on the stove.