• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 05

The Serving Maid Comments

Riches beyond belief,
not an embarrassment,
an achievement—so my master says,
sprinkling fancy words like precious spices
to season his statements,
he turns a chiaroscuro spotlight on the bounty.
No herring and cheese here. No,
it’s lobster on platters brought from China,
wine, not beer, and monkeys captured with
human cargo, sold to the highest bidder.

But wealth has its burdens,
even my mistress takes up her paintbrush
between popping out babies. It’s a well-ordered house.
And so, I wash and clean and cook and swaddle,
drooling over the food I’ll never taste, that will spoil
without being eaten. It’s my duty to help with the display—
a golden age in golden light, each painting a beacon lighting the way
for generations to come.