Monday, September 15, 2014

Margaret

Clutched cookery books spike out
from dimpled, freckled arms
held in a sweet caress
in the library queue.
You spare a thought
for your childhood game
an upside-down 'T' of Lego
swipe, stamp
swipe
stamp;
How do children play
at being librarians now?
Beep, beep, beep.
Do they even go to libraries anymore?
You stack the books neatly
in your canvas bag for life,
fraying at the handles,
canvas stretched like a pregnant belly
with sharp book spines the kicking baby feet.
You will take them home
and devour them,
salivating over glossy pictures
of egg-glazed fruit loaves
that women are supposed to make for their husbands.
Your dining table is a floury wasteland,
a giant worksurface
where your family would eat.
You cook meals for four, six, eight.
Eating them is no mean feat,
but diligently you do.
Nigella wrote a chapter
on eating for one,
but it started with a quote about masturbation
so you decided it wasn't for you.
You spin out your days
in a dutiful cookery cycle,
imagining all the people you would cook for
if you only knew someone.
The man who works in the library eyes you
and your book choices
curiously,
while you rummage for your card and
he aches to be cooked for by you
just you,
but you will never know this
until it is too late
and the girl who works across the road
in the bakers
gets to him instead.
Your monster refrigerator
suffers a coronary,
laden with too much tupperware
and lurches forward,
no arms to stop him
and the refrigerator repair man
is your saviour,
scraping up the lost food life.
You make him a cup of tea
and he makes you laugh
and you may feel unsure
but that feeling in your cheeks as you smile
and that feeling in your hands as you pass him the sugar
is life itself
and you will be ok,
Margaret,
you will be ok.

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