Polly and Sukey

Whistles in her jug ears,
Polly (the optimist) steers the saucers
from rack to ruin. She steams
the days wide open, reading secrets
while fettling a fresh kettle.
Wafting outside, she brews up,
brews up, brews up, brews up
until her hands are all bruise
and the air's hot conversation
is scandalous with chinks.

Sukey's the spoilsport. Thoughtless,
she pours cold water on Polly.
Even her daydreams have calluses:
she points to the rapid
evaporation of chat, to the absence
of meaning between cup and lip.
As she grabs the guest-list,
it is hard for Sukey not to notice
that Polly's polite invitations
are only addressed to herself.

From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday