Tribute, after dental surgery & Nan with the cake by Jenny Blackford
The last rat tribute that my cat presented me
fell already cold onto the carpet by my bed
clever pale paws curled in rigor – poor thing
long dead before the failed predator
discovered its small corpse, dragged it
through the flap yowling his joy
and triumph. I pray the tiny gods
of whiskered things that scuttle quiet in the dark
please, no more soft precious tributes
in the night.
after dental surgery
slugs writhe on a cracked
concrete garden path
soft grey rotting teeth
Nan with the cake
One of my hairdressers' Nans keeps
a tier from each family wedding cake
frozen in clingwrap.
The other's mother keeps her dog's ashes
– Chloe – in a teak box (in a glass cabinet)
with a gold plaque. We could all imagine
I keep a tattered envelope
of ancient baby hair: my mother's,
her big brother's, younger sisters',
saved from Nana's stash.
My mother used to shudder, called it unhygienic
though she still kept a lock of mine
and both my sisters', tied with ribbon
in her own jewellery box.
Straightening my maddeningly kinky hair
Hayley gasps about the client who keeps
her children's teeth – every baby milk tooth –
on soft red velvet in a silver case.