One morning
I was told, like a husband at childbirth,
to boil water. While local news
burbled on about cattle escaping
and causing havoc in the nearby town
I stoked the fire, set the pans, and watched
the steam run down the walls, watched till the cries
outside changed to an almost human scream.
Willing the noise to end I took a knife
and held it to my throat. A shout went up,
the clang of metal, as buckets were set
to gather blood. Letting the blunt blade run
across the sweating skin of my bare arm
I knew that soon I would be told to take
the water out to scrape the bristles smooth.
                              Isabel Garford

Isabel Garford

Isabel Garford writes:

"I spent half of the Sixties qualifying as a solicitor and most of the Seventies dropping out. This poem comes from the second period when I lived on a farming commune.

"The photograph appears to catch me in a later reincarnation as a dinner lady."
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One morning © 2009 by Isabel Garford: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.