In the wicker basket she had lifted down
were trim cotton reels, a black needle cloth,
and an orange disc tin with planets, stars,
and the whoosh of a rocket on the lid.
I was let play with it—carefully though—
while she got ready to mend a thorn-rip,
a gravel-ragged knee, or a mend itself,
a jumper-cuff I’d encouraged to fray.
There was always a slight prick, when the lid came off,
that it wasn’t filled with sweets or money.
But as she sat under the brighter side-light,
the damage in her lap, and me at her feet
picking over the pin tin—the thin ones
and red bobble-tops, smooth as Jupiter
when I plumped them between finger and thumb—
I would look up from the glints and silvers
for the wetted end lining up to the eye;
that still, before she was in to her work,
that still I wouldn’t give, when the memory
threads me, for all the riches of heaven.