This used to be a bakery,
but nothing now would indicate so.
No soothing smells of iced buns,
doughnuts, or sausage rolls.
carpet; cardboard; glossy printed ink.
We are in the bowels of a
greetings card business.
Soldier rows of boxes display
mysterious codes like
Greetings cards in bulk,
an ancient fax and
gaffer tape keeping the carpet down.
Someone in Putney wants cards with trees on,
in Australia they favour the sea.
A burring telephone, constant
the crackle of Radio 4.
We drink Earl Grey in china cups,
a dash of milk,
perhaps a chocolate biscuit.
We go out for cakes,
to another bakery to keep this
ex-bakery in sweet treats.
We teeter on ladders, hauling cards to pack:
insert an envelope,
insert into cellophane,
seal with a sticker.
The repetitive task makes
way for gossip, more tea, until
France calls. They want the vintage card range,
the ones with golden cherubs
sucking chubby thumbs.
We pack and gaffer and weigh and lug.
Invoices, emails, faxes, calls.
Set the answerphone, turn the outside light on.
Packed blank cards for other people's words,
they get sent out, shipped away.
Wash the cups up, ready for another day.
This poem is for Pauline Palmer, Holly Whiteley and Emma McArthur. Happy National Poetry Day x