By Sue Mayfield Geiger
It was white, short-sleeved and belted,
with a collar and button-down front below the knees.
The handkerchief of the day—petite cross-stitched pansies—
shared a dresser drawer with dainty cousins and clung to the
left pocket held tightly by a costume-jeweled pin.
White work shoes caressed crooked toes attached to feet
that stood achingly in front of steam tables where hungry
young minds were fed the likes of white rice and fish sticks,
banana pudding and small cartons of milk.
Afterwards, crusty pots and pans were scrubbed, water boiled
and floors mopped; big buckets, rag mops, and disinfectant put away.
Smells linger now, triggering memories of backbreaking chores
and a tired body that walked three miles home
where the uniform was washed, starched, ironed and hung
awaiting the next day’s accoutrements.
Fingered softly; pinned with care.