If this man hadn't died untimely in his 37th year in 1886
his widow would not have been forced to keep house
for my great-great whatever and his thirteen children.
Nor would she have married him, long after his wife died.
He bequeathed it all, everything he died possessed of,
to her, to Lucy Glew, as was. Or so my brother says,
with bitterness. The mansion on the hill in Aro Street,
the Royal Tiger, the row of workers' houses, the lot.
The rents and revenues his children were accustomed to.
And when she died she left it to the Church. Imagine that.
I imagine she had been his wife in fact before they wed,
a bearded widower, a pragmatic yet comely housekeeper.
Perhaps sin preyed on her mind in her second widowhood,
stoutly creaking in her corsets, as respectable as anyone.
But the Spot, the Stain, known only to the One who knows.
So she drew up her Testament to save her soul from Hell.
She bought indulgence with money down, under the counter,
because this remission of punishment was quashed in 1662.
But still. No harm done to leave what you can't take with you.
The generations yet to come left to make shift on their own.
My brother tells me he throws stones at Tom Glew's epitaph
—Beloved Husband Of Lucy Glew—Why did you have to die,
you silly bugger? We are shoeless now and it's all your fault.
Families do fall, and we fell into our familiar improvidence.