Strolling the malls, in the bauble-bright late Fifties,
My schoolmates’ parents could be nonchalant.
Not mine. Already earners in the Thirties,
They’d known the rancid tang of actual want
And window-browsing made their faces glow.
The daylong sourness on their tongues and teeth
Melted, there in the mall at Seven Corners.
Hope ringed their heads like a cigarette-smoke wreath.
Yet any actual purchase somehow came
Salted with supper-table arguments.
Grinding their teeth on loveliness, they dreamed.
Waking, they gripped the bills and scrounged the cents.
So now they have brushed platinum, ruched satin,
Rose-wreathed extravagance. The sort of waste
Their frugal heads would frown on, I have chosen.
God of abundance, let their starved souls taste.