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