Winter 2002 Poetry Competition First Prize

A Class Act

by Carol Wolrich

Email: carol.a.w@blueyonder.co.uk

She wears faded, twice-repaired boots,

which were a bargain in the sales.

Her jokes are not art-full of meaning.

Her smile is slightly lopsided, unlike

her virtues.She laughs from the depths

of her background, but never at you.


Your shoes are bespoke, as polished

and trim as your manicured hands.

She bites her nails; this charms

and annoys you. You are cultivated-

cashmere. She is seventy per cent

of whatever she can afford.


She worries that your shoeshine

will glare on her faults. And what

if she picks the wrong spoon?

Will you disown her? Blush for her?

You worry that her regional accent

will lower the tone of your vowels.


She asks you to join her and squelch

in tough puddles, if you dare.

Instead, you arrange a date

for a black tie affair, with a girl

called Miranda, who has high-profile

hair and a horse called Pashmina.


You think of her all night, but

think, too, of how a comprehensively

poor education would show up badly

by day. And you chatter comfortably

over cocktails, about how good it is

that the class system is dead.

©2002 Carol Wolrich

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