time I lost it among
like toppled mosques, cupcakes piled
up, knickknacks in a granny flat; meticulously
dainty chocs, in a posh box
like dolls’ house furniture. I said I
couldn’t stand it,
that peevishly sweet pretence,
every morsel over-acting, where
whipped cream was a powdered wig;
Candy Land rococo with added chintz.
And you kicked me in my bad ankle,
under the table, and hissed: what more
did I want? And I started to tell you,
picking at sequined itoas of seed from
my uneaten roll, but you slapped my
hand and I cried instead, so I’ll say
it now: lover, I want what sent Salem
raving, that succotash sopping rye,
black as a bible, ripened like dark fruit;
the dense, soaked hump of it, steaming.
I want a mauled weight of
bread I can heft in my hands, stuff to
clutch; the taste of sweat and loam and
wet sand. Lover, I want a deep dough
swampy with figs; want garlic barbs or olives big and black as rubber bullets.
Lover, I want borscht, dripping, thick
as bulls’ blood, slopped in bowls with
baby’s head pampushky. Lover, I
want stab vest slabs of honey cake. But
I see from your face that something is
lost in translation. Leave me then, to
the sour pong of my kitchen; my
splinters of pickle, my heavy-breathing yeast.
Leave me to dabble my cornstarch like
I’m dusting for prints. This is the
archaeology of the stomach and the heart.
Fran’s debut collection, ‘Flatrock’ (Little Episodes), was launched in May 2011. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Ambit, The Alarmist, Poetry London, The Stinging Fly, and in ‘Best British Poetry 2012’. Her second collection, ‘The Mystic and the Pig Thief’ (Salt), is due out in April 2014. She owns a basenji and several moth-eaten cardigans. She is still searching for the perfect cup of coffee.