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POEM: A Ritual


Put your name to a failing business –

and we are in a car taking straights at speed,

tyres churning the roadside undergrowth,


my neck pinched by an elasticated tie.

Paraded before reluctant clients: Pay me!

But there were times we went for a curry.


Each meal, I stuck to the staple:

tandoori chicken and lemon sorbet,

the sizzling meat arriving from the oven


with its charcoal elbows wrapped in foil.

I worked flesh from the bone with a knife,

slurped up the shredded lettuce;


squeezed pips across the meat with a press.

My mother ordered stuffed paratha,

licensed by its ability to be shared.


The fruit came scalped like a hardboiled egg

and filled to its thin flipped hinge.

I couldn’t comprehend the citrus –


a lemon tree shaken

by a youth in Porto, flesh almost sweet.

We wet ourselves with flannels.


Bedded down afterwards, our closed eyes

scrolled the hallways; like options

steered towards the blinded windows.


photo credit: Masala Chicken Himachali via photopin (license)

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