This really truly happened. My Dad grew to a man during WW2, his whole outlook was changed forever by rationing, he looked everywhere for anything eatable as a matter of course and ate all sorts of things. And of course I was a cow to my younger brothers, who isn’t?
This is a kitchen, but it isn’t domestic.
I’m neither tearing out my hair
for seeing my talent aborted in the washing up
nor feeling the cornflakes make me ordinary.
I sit in the kitchen because it’s warm
and the rest of the house is freezing.
Outside, the beech tree tangles its hairy clefts
and grappling branches, indecently exposed
to the snowy wind and light of January.
Inside, a polythene bag of brine
contains steer testicles. Dad thought
I could cook the family dinner out of it
how I’d hate to disappoint!
Testicles. Balls the size of cricket balls
they need disguising to look like food
my brothers are suspicious when I take the piss
from their youth, and eye them with experienced eyes
they’re awed by menstruation, so they won’t eat
if they realise what’s what,
but they must eat, to grow up!
I boil the testicles, then liquidise them, ugh!
Slipping outside to escape the smell
I let the wind run hands beneath my clothes.
My skin aware of ice, I see the pointy tips
of bulbs, lower than the damp course bricks.
The sun is powerless but clear, promising
pleasures… but not yet. I have to cook –
Dad and my brothers love spaghetti.
Garlic, onions, herbs, tomato puree –
get my drift? – The testicle paste
hey presto, Bolog-, Bollock- naise!
Never trust an elder sister when she smiles that way
watching you eat, but isn’t hungry.
I paint my eyes in the kitchen, prepare for night,
for blackness impenetrable with naked beech.
Tim asks; “Where’s those thingys Dad brought gone?”
and “Must I wash up?”
I look at him from eyes painted like eyes
on boats to ward off evil spirits:
“Yes, wash up. Did you enjoy your Bollocknaise?”
“You COW!” Tim rinses plates and blushes pink
gives in. My eyes have quelled him.