In the fug of the room,
a hotbox of body fumes,
I turn to you.
Your ludicrous head
suspended alone on the pillow –
sliced at the neck
by the duvet,
smeared like a smudge
on the canvas of the bed,
dead eyes and mind,
pallid and glazed.

I want to slap and flick
your clammy cheeks
to see if you’ll wake
to hear the sound
it would make
if I clapped my hands
on a fish’s stretched sides
how they would glide in the cold
sweat streams
etched on your temples.

The lady at the fish counter
undoubtedly knows my dilemma,
watching endlessly
the unerringly dreary
on the face of her companions;
the old trout,
the mackerel,
the slip of the salmon,
the black, boring eyes of the prawn –
we’ve seen them all.

I remember last night,
how I slurped you in;
the saline smack of your bream
and the way we swam between the ripples
of my sheets.
It might have been
your skin, your eyes,
your lines,
the gin…
who knows,
I was hooked –
maybe you could be more than
a casual fuck.
But now in the stench of morning
I realise my error
what a stinker
no hook, no line
just the glistening pool
of your drool
in the pitiless light of day
it crystallizes into cushion
of crushed ice
with you gutted and garnished
weighted, sell-by-dated and priced.

Rebecca Ross


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