Fish for Tea
The fish in the Co-Op used to frighten me
when I was five or six, and shopping after school:
one eye wide open, no light behind it,
staring at me from their crushed ice bed
in terrible reproach. I couldn't look for long.
'And what can I do for you, young man?'
Keith, the butcher, with his scarlet face,
would look at me instead of Mum and ask.
I think now, 'Don't be so fucking jolly
when you're selling corpses.' But I'm old and cranky.
In those days I would look at Mum,
so tall beside me in her roomy kaftans,
and step behind her with a nervous laugh
as she bought our fish for tea.