A Squirt of Musk

The Poet’s Wife

The wife baked a loaf of bread
the morning she died,
it had a recipe inside,
fossilised–
but its secrets have now been broken apart
and fully analysed,
by a literary laboratory
approved by the dead poet’s estate.
Her off-the-shoulder sparkly top
found neatly folded in the children’s chest
of drawers,
was clearly worn for a tryst,
while speculation circles
like crows in a perfect blue sky
over why she requested
postage stamps and a cup of sugar from a
neighbour who’d grumbled
about the pram in the hall–
was one of them destined for a love letter?

Recently they found traces of kisses
from a mystery man,
buried in the fluff of her apron pocket,
pre-dating the era of the Yummy Mummy
when all Mummies were
kept as domestic slaves
in Upper Islington or Kentish Town–
and hidden in her unkempt
barnet definite signs that she was cursed
and about to turn into a vixen
at the next full moon.

(Btw, the mystery man’s
name probably begins with an ‘A’
but they’re not allowed to say
or he might sue.)
So the Poet wasn’t to blame
as he cooked his wife’s recipe books
over an open fire-
and he was perfectly entitled to the royal seal
of approval,
with licence to fish the Queen Mother’s river,
casting his fly wide–
he was not the wily bottom-feeder,
big mouth like a sand trap,
smelling of women,
he is the wounded white hart
in the forest clearing.

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A Squirt of Musk

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