To think you once had leaves,
that you once sprouted and grew in soil.
Glued, nailed, low-handled.
You look knocked together –
rustic they call it, ill fitting door-frame.
That year before he went – you kept shut,
and later when he moved to the spare room,
your big eye-knots like dark nipples,
old scars that showed life marked you,
helped me wait until he moved out.
These days, foliage practically bursts
from your timber pores,
You swing, gape, grin,
you are always open.
Trying at Stratford East
When I hurled myself slap bang into him
in near the Westfield at Stratford East, I was
trying to catch the tube,
His face pink, shining like tin foil
I’m never coming back here I said to him not in a million years
When he said they’ve made an Olympic Park out of fox-shit and newspapers;
You’re not selling it I said to him
and he laughed.
When he said This is no place for poets and artists and the like;
I thought how excited we were when we had bought our first house, how
he held me and pointed to the waste ground and convinced me they would build our future here.
I just don’t have my heart in it I had said to him
We stood near the ring-road
and lamented They’ve chopped down the willow trees
I said to him
Well it’s only natural they would do that;
Well I must fly I said to him
When I got onto the tube
I think I was crying.
Delivered like unwanted children,
I didn’t put them in water, I kept
them in ornate packaging, on my table.
Only half-heartedly looked for their real mother.
Their scent leaked into my everyday,
alive like new baby smell.
I phoned Inter-flora, told them there was somewhere
an aching breast, wrongly ticked box, not at this address.
I didn’t touch them until one week after Mother’s Day,
Wondering if the son, the daughter, the mother
would fetch them away and
just as they began pushing out everything, she came.
Heartbroken, relieved, not forgotten. She muttered
polite complaints on my doorstep, told me
her son in the States spent seventy five pounds on them
and left, clutching my wilted flowers to her chest.
Jessica Mookherjee grew up in Wales, lived in London and now Kent. She has a background in biological anthropology. She has recently been published in Prole, Interpreter’s House, The Journal, Agenda, Ink Sweat and Tears, Antiphon and Gold Dust and Lampeter Review and is shortlisted for the 2016 Fair Acre Pamphlet Prize.