Staying with a friend, you leave his mother’s kitchen
To walk the garden on an errand for herbs.
The wind snaps the drying sheets apart on the washing line
Giving sudden, triangular glimpses of a pond, and roses.
And here’s an outhouse, with a scrap of frayed rush matting on the red step:
A cool, stone-walled, flag-floored room,
Full of old buckets, coils of twine, garden tools,
A washing basket at a still but crazy angle with a peg-bag in its lap,
And there is a huge fridge with a split handle,
Industriously buzzing in the heavy half-light.
A certain – knack – with the handle,
And the inside suddenly shows ranked remains of meals –
Today’s, then yesterday’s, behind those the day before’s,
And then a whole pile of dishes, badly-bundled clingfilm packets,
A tubular clot of cooked chicken livers,
And saucers with bones on. Natural relics.
A cold smell of cabbage, peppermint, blood and cream arises from the shelves.
Hurry back in sunlight with the green herbs for tonight’s meal.