Burnt Toast



The kitchen reeks of stale arguments

and bacon. She glances up, horrified,

rasher dangling like a sock between her fingers

as I show up, half-chewed

in my father’s oversize fleece.

Between us, all you can hear

is the sound of a butter-knife scraping.

Oiled fingers. Burnt toast. She offers,

eggs me on to eat. I say, calmly,

no thank you, it’s burnt

as she stands, arms crossed, watching me

shred cucumber into fifty wet pieces,

slide tomatoes around my plate,

not knowing


how I have trembled all night

like a mole in the dark, dug up

my ribs, my pelvic bone, squeezed

the soft bits like clay.

There, I say, and glare at her,

waving my bare fork as evidence.

Swallow a cold frill of lettuce.


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