Mothballs

Sylvia Kantaris

Things had to be preserved – embroideries,
best dresses, lacy curtains, tablecloths
too delicate and beautiful to use
except in dreams perhaps. But in real life
they just stayed, folded, in a shroud of sheets,
protected from the moths by napthalene.
Each cupboard, chest and wardrobe leaked
a heady scent of mothballs. Things would keep.

Underneath the soil now, in her best at last,
her needlework, at least, is preserved,
and maybe lacy angels trained to trace
the scent of napthalene down to its source
have wafted her economising soul up
into a gauzy haze of tablecloths,
and heaven is protected for eternity
against battalions of invading moths.