The Chipped Limoges Plate

Because of the chip that mars its border
a midday sandwich can sit on it, a pear

or a slice of cheese, several cream crackers
and I can eat off it happily, aristocratically.

It is the advantage of chipping and flaws:
the beautiful damaged thing, adored

undoubtedly by someone who dropped it, swore
put it back under the perfect plates

so it might never be used again. Or
took it to their room, placed on it

their fake pearls, their insignificant jewels
hair clips, a chocolate wrapped in foil

and from it took, not just the border
in darkest gold-foiled maroon

but the Fragonard romance at its heart
of male and female bringing flowers.

Elizabeth Smither

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