Empty and lustreless with smudged fingerprints to remind our aching heads.
And I would not meet your eyes.
Over soap and steaming water.
We cleaned away in silence.
By Maria Smedstad (15) who receives Michael Rosen's Mind the Gap (Scholastic). Submitted by Beth Maynard of The Hugh Christie Technology College, Tonbridge, Kent, who receives the Poetry Society teachers' newsletter, a quarterly bulletin which includes features on innovative approaches to poetry in the classroom as well as news on the latest resources, events and issues. For Poetry Society events, ring 0171- 240 4810.
Maria has done a lot with a little. We know so much from what are no more than hints - if they collected glasses "all morning" there must have been hundreds of them; if their heads are aching they must have been drunk (ish!); if "I" wouldn't "meet your eyes" then something must have been going on between them; and cleaning away the fingerprints is not going to clean away the memory - a memory this poem secures anyway. All this then feeds back into the line "Empty and lustreless" which seemingly describes the glasses but clearly also describes the writer's mood.