GW Hurtle, Family Butcher
The sign sticks in my mind: a wooden trestle board
on a street near Hawes, like something worn by men
walking round to announce the end of the world.
A family business, I suppose, handed down from
Hurtle to Hurtle, each ruddy-faced father passing
it on to each ruddy-faced son. Or maybe it meant
meat for all the family – the Sunday roast and so on.
But instead of juicy red mince and stewing steak,
I see legs and livers of uncles, sisters, sons:
Father’s guts, Auntie’s spleen, half-brothers cut
into quarters, dozens of cousins now twice removed;
and in the middle, the head of some toothless grin,
an apple in her mouth, though I’d keep her glasses on.
First appeared in Other Poetry
Will Kemp has won the Envoi International Prize, the Cinnamon Debut Collection Award, the Cinnamon Pamphlet Competition and the Cinnamon Short Story Competition. Cinnamon has published his collections Nocturnes, Lowland and The Missing Girl, and will publish his next, The Painters Who Studied Clouds, in 2016. For details, see: www.wkemp.com