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Granny or Garbage?

This poem tells a story of futuristic times after a presumed catastrophe. The central character is a ‘dirty hoarder’who has become a ‘Dragon Lady’, a keeper of ‘treasure’.

The real status of the old woman is unknown but her social rise is hinted at. The clues are indistinct, but deliciously ambiguous enough for one to be able to debate the issue: is she Lady Gran or Garbage Dragon?

The reader learns that a handsome couple, together with their two sons and one daughter, have arrived to barter for things, some wanted, some needed, from Granny’s ‘lovely jam-packed rooms’. 

Granny asserts there’s ‘not a mark’ on any of the children, although the boys are fed whereas the girl is Ivory cover with black lettering and a spooky image of a face in a shadowy window‘scrimped’and in my book, that’s a mark. A mark that’s been used throughout history, signed in a slash of paint or on a slip of paper smeared with glue and slapped on to the skin of a woman at a sale.

As the symbol on a paper tells vendor’s price so this ‘scrimped’ girl-child’s appearance tells her low price despite the gloom. Already reduced, she intuits her value as things on the list are picked and gathered.

Granny does not leaveher own treasure unprotected from meddlers. No candlelight will scorch her things.  But when the daughter of this ‘fine family’ shrinks back from Granny’s proffered hand, no corresponding hand comes from her parents to protect or claim her. In this way the contract is sealed and her fate becomes a done deal.

The making of a slave is the forced separation of the individual from her progenitors. Granny? or Garbage? I don’t think that’s the real question any more.  What say you?

Jane Freer