Love (23)

I´d like to say the fridge
was clean, but look at the rusty
streaks down the back wall
and the dusty brown pools
underneath the salad crisper.

And this is where I´ve lived
the past two weeks, since I was pulled
from the vegetable garden.
I´m wild for him: I want to stay crunchy
enough to madden his hard palate and his tongue,
every sensitive part inside his mouth.
But almost hour by hour now, it seems,
I can feel my outer leaves losing resistance,
as oxygen leaks in, water leaks out
and the same tendency creeps further
and further towards my heart.

Down here there´s not much action,
just me and another, even limper, lettuce
and half an onion. The door opens so many,
so many times a day, but he never opens
the salad drawer where I´m curled in a corner.

There´s an awful lot of meat. Strange cuts:
whole limbs with their grubby hair,
wings and thighs of large birds,
claws and beaks. New juice
gathers pungency as it rolls down
through the smelly strata of the refrigerator,
and drips on to our fading heads.

The thermostat is kept as low as it will go,
and when the weather changes
for the worse, what´s nearest
to the bottom of the fridge starts to freeze.
Three times we´ve had cold snaps,
and I´ve felt the terrifying pain
as ice crystals formed at my fringes.

Insulation isn´t everything in here:
you´ve got to relax into the cold,
let it in at every pore. It´s proper
for food preservation. But I heat up
again at the thought of him,
at the thought of mixing into one juice
with his saliva, of passing down his throat
and being ingested with the rest
into his body cells where I´ll learn
by osmosis another lovely version
of curl, then shrivel, then open again to desire.

Jo Shapcott, Vegetable Love, the UK, 1992

Maybe try reading Andrew Marvell’s ‘To his coy mistress’ for some sort of… intertextual background.

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Filed under Love, Poetrylove, Pseudointellectual

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