The opening and shutting of the door
for seven years has shorted the wire
that keeps the children’s food fresh and cold.
She will have to defrost the icebox.
Whilst he swears in refrigerated goods I flip
the switches on a deluxe kettle
turn on all the deluxe gas
on my deluxe six-ring burner
plan a feast for all five of us
a juniper sauce, millstone ring-cake
iced white as snow and a baby poussin
from the decimated supermarket shelves.
102 litres of the stuff. Of emptiness,
I mean. What about the word elseone,
he asks me. As in, if elseone had been first.
The freezer screws everything to itself,
edible leaves festering in their plastic bag
shut inside the feverish machine.
If I were elseone I could knock and step
through the lockdown door
the new fridge strapped to my heroic back
or kneel to chip the years-long
ice from round the shorted seal
and make good. No open chest
freezer full of rotten apples, no apple-core heart,
but just a handy person capable
of joining up the circuit
who could come and fix things
in time for dinner, could fix any meal
any of them could possibly want to eat.
Martha Sprackland is a writer and editor living between London and Madrid. She was co-founder and poetry editor of Cake magazine, was assistant poetry editor for Faber & Faber, and is one of the founding editors of multilingual arts magazine La Errante. She is the editor of independent press Offord Road Books. In 2018 she joined Poetry London as associate editor, and in 2019 became acting poetry editor. She teaches for the Poetry School. Citadel, her latest collection, is published by Pavilion Poetry.
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