(7 September 1935 - / Maldon / Australia)

Priests

Be especially polite,
don’t be alone with them, never kiss them,
my grandmother said. It was simple,
they were God’s chosen.

There they were, prized men
off in a country of their own,
(that problem of their always
having the answers).

Priests were special visitors,
there to bless the house or for
afternoon-tea: occasions for the Royal
Doulton, silver teapot and chocolate cake.

My mother fussed around, finding cake forks,
making sure the cloth was ironed —
always guarded:

that incident when she was seventeen
decorating the church, and Father Shaw
with his onion-spiker tooth
bending to kiss
her freshwater face.

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