My Raucous, Singing Ear

By and | 15 September 2022

At the Butcher

I have three children, fair, pale and risen lean, and I’m always buying chicken, what it means to be a mother in this suburb. The butcher’s a warehouse of undignified echoes, refrigeration everywhere, and oh my tender ear – even when I flinch nothing shuts-up, and there go my squinting eyes, as if changing the shape of my vision will help, and I need help, at the butcher, with the tilting. But I’ve got this, only slabs of breast, slimy limbs, cleaved wings, these butchered bodies I’ve never intended to understand: I am owning this chore. Though it’s funny / not funny how I got from there to here in a minute’s time. And yet here’s another level of there-to-here, and just like that, another. I own nothing, a silent beggar, the coins in my purse so valueless I’ve forgotten they even exist. By now everyone should be staring because I’m freakish, primal like an animal deprived of its howl, and staring is what’s done when people are afraid of someone like me, lets them bask in the knowledge that they’re intact, but they’re not staring, no one is, and it’s Tuesday at the butcher, there’s anxiety at the butcher, and I have become the centre of my thinking which means telling the butcher what I want is a beastly task, the worst thing I’ve had to do all day, and I wonder: can she tell there’s something wrong with me? Can the butcher see my disability?

                        the eczema below my nose		
                                    these spandex clothes
                                                my thirsting throat 

                                                                        this slowing breath	
                                                                                    these red cheeks
                                                the purple runners            on my feet
my unshaved legs
                                                my ankle tattoo
                                    my niggling fear
                                                            my raucous ear
                                                                                                my wiggling belly
                                                                                    this middle age
                                                                        this healthy breath
                                                                              on the whiff  
                                                                        of raw meat                        sensitivity

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