By | 1 May 2021

and the brown-skinned girl is crying
and the woman sings a hymn they sang on sunday
and the man with a suit and tie and big black car
takes hold of the little girl’s arm

and the car and the man and the girl drive off
and the hymn becomes a wail
and the girl stares back at the disappearing woman
and the car arrives at a large brick building
and the man in the suit and tie hands over the girl
to a woman in a dark blue dress and drives away

and thirty brown-skinned girls sleep side by side
in one long hall in nightly silence
and they take their turns in washing up
and scrub the floors each saturday and take cold showers
and they cook and sweep and sew until they’re housemaids
fit to serve the pale-faced city-ladies or the farmers’ wives

and the brown-skinned woman sees the car drive past
and the man with the suit and tie walks up
to her neighbour’s door where a woman sings a hymn
they sang in church on sunday

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