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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Valentine's Dinner In - poem

she lays the knife and fork
where he’d want them
the tablecloth his mother gave them as a wedding gift
the best plates.

the wine is chilling
a good one – a few quid off,
she forgets the name
she’d like a glass, a sip or two, to steady her
and concentrate her thoughts on making this
a special night.

she’s made his favourite
all afternoon yesterday planning it
all morning today preparing for it
preparing to leave the house
the shops only down the road
make-up knowledgeably applied
so no one can tell.

she’d like a glass of wine
ages since she’s had any
delicate against her tongue
softening in and blurring
hard edges
instead the vodka’s doing that
the alcoholic burning numbs her tongue against
the lemon, grapefruit zesty notes the label promises
wine isn’t enough now

the rose
the only one remaining of the six
takes centre place
he bought them
for her
a gesture of something
the day after, the day after
Sunday dinner
this time the gravy was too thick
he’d said
the stain of it, still dark
ingrained into the kitchen wall
despite the bleach
the bruises, yellow
this time

the door slams and he is home
the vodka downed and glass thrown in the sink
she waits
he stands there gently smiling
chocolates, a teddy bear
held out like rare things prized gifts
despite the fact they both know
they were on special at the garage

he tells her she is beautiful
and then
his fingers vice her throat
the fingerprints –
the individual lines and whorls –
themselves onto her skin
she feels them, ridged and grazing
his mouth bruises onto hers
I want you
the words rough, serrated
her ear
she nods

has to
and glances at the clock on the wall behind his head
there’s time enough; the dinner won’t be spoiled
this time
and if she does this
maybe they’ll taste the wine
the lemon tang of it
filling her mouth and
he’ll say he loves her
if she lets him do this – enjoys it.
but she has to.
better this –
his hands penetrating and unbuttoning –
than punching.

he loves her
the words tangle in her hair
sighed out
as he holds her
pressing her against the wall
he loves her
she knows that, doesn’t she?
yes, she says,
she does

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