Sunday, April 3, 2016

Elizabeth Allen

After seven long years underground

the crust of mascara starts to crack and flake.
She claws her way up into your kitchen to stand
wiping the cigarette smoke from her eyes.

You have been preparing a lentil salad and
perhaps this has brought her: steam rising with
the scent of nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin and

mustard powder; the bite and tang of salt and sugar.
She is like the neighbour’s cat which sometimes
steals into your kitchen, demanding to be fed.

Two cuts on your finger wince and sting. The
impossible knot of family: tightening and unpicking
it in your chest. Rinsing the metal bowl, you place

it on the draining board decisively, making it
count. The buzzing radio of thoughts: cicadas
screaming in crescendo. A tired muscle twitching

just above your knee. Wanting to be more
than, less than. Still, the constant tug of things
forgotten: a kite string wrapped around your finger.

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