everyone’s shit smells exactly the same
something tired and pruned inside us
now shoehorned and swelling
with yoghurts cereal 4 cups of milk
I will tapeworms from the white rings they leave on the table
distraction! how many green things can you name
cabbage broccoli peppermint tea
come on now a nurse warns less with the food too much
time spent on that elephant in the room
the apple in his mouth and the oil
pooling at his neck the gristle you can’t shake
12 minutes left to complete this meal
sometimes I hold my tongue so tense its quivered muscle
I suck my own teeth loose
I am never clearing my throat anymore I just speak
we are all here rotting a little bit slower than we were before
this morning it was all alarms and stretchers
dietician running down the corridor
one empty seat at the breakfast table no one found
the answer to the riddle on the blackboard no one asked
any questions we just played games
distraction! we just made cards
no one wrote anything inside them just cut
out stars with safety scissors stuck sequins before
lunch & after kneaded clay into plant pots
not all granted out to the garden distraction!
at tea we sucked the worry out of our molars
like sunflower seeds
sat down to our dumplings
carried on chewing
Your mother fought, I'm sure,but lost to slack white jaws—tongues sharp and thin as fish bones.
There is no 6am tick of waterwarming pipes in this care home,damp and foul as rotting colons.
I would feather a nest for you,Little Cuckoo, bring a feast of worms,but my blackbird beak is crammed with stones.
In this version I grow a lemon tree between my legs. You move me to a window because citrus trees need light. In this version I wrap myself in a golden fleece, start a bonfire in the back yard, eat baby insects like air. In this version you give me a piglet - two eyes, a bald round head, rhythmically kicking its arms and legs like an accordion playing a polka. In this version you move next door and I write to all the women you left. Love letters that become birds once read, so they don’t have to decide what to do with them next. In this version I get my pilot’s license while you teach my son to dance. Wearing an aviation suit and Earhart goggles I sit in the cockpit, still on the ground, watching you both spinning. In this version we don’t get pregnant in the first place, instead your swimmers take a leap, swim the channel, make it all the way to France where they quickly pick up the language, open a small boulangerie and cycle to work every day. I eat eggs for breakfast for a week. In this version you buy me a convertible car. I drive on long empty roads with the top down, my hair wrapped in a red chiffon scarf. The seats are black leather, wipe clean, just in case, you say. In this version your mum cooks me dinner. Fifteen courses of the Corinthians and a jug of the Song of Songs. I keep my elbows off the table. She spoons verses on my plate while stroking my face. In this version I discover you stole the baby while I was sleeping. You keep it in a pickling jar. You tell me this is in case I change my mind. In this version you plait my hair. You take my trinity and weave it, soft in your hands, like feathers, you say, as I start tapping my claws on the wet soil. In this version you feed me your dog. Flesh cubed, marinated in virgin oils, roasted. We sit at the table looking at each other but never, ever our plates. In this version you hold my hair back at the side of the clinic road. I heave my organs up and out of my mouth onto the curb. Oops there’s a kidney. Oh and another, you say. In this version you are bleeding. I don’t want to be dramatic but you are bleeding like someone let the bath water out onto the floor, you are bleeding, the colour fleeing you, leaving behind nothing but pale foam and bubbles.