Laying the Cloth, et cetera
Each day you understand a little more your place here. Your face: a pious landscape. You listen for the bell’s double ding-a-ling through the hallways like a call to worship. Hands fold like napkins. Lips hold together with a stitch. Gradually, you learn to starch your collar high and tight, know the moment before the moment a guest turns to go, to swing imperceptibly with the door. What a long hinge the body makes. Day and dark depend on preparation, laying the cloth according to the hem and fold, the flower basket or family coat of arms facing always up the table. After dinner, you dig coal from your chest with a grapefruit spoon and your eyes scour twenty dirty plates. The black herd of boots return, tracking in the sand and snow you sweep out hourly. If you keep this up, someday your soul will be handsomely arranged as the pantry.