The caviar of death between bread,
that’s what we ate this Christmas –
black salt:
that’s what you spit,
what you pass,
what you eat raw,
what you become,
when we lay between bread and eat
it is our fare, our diet
how we must be between slices of life,
between ramming breadcrumbs in birds,
heating the oven for Christmas Dinner.

‘Not by bread alone’ –
black salt in your look
when I wake you with fatuous words,
‘It’s Christmas, Mother’.

Your concentration
your tar
between sheets,

Linen folds its think wink
over the slow black underground stream
that flows through,
marks your breath purple where it touches,
like salt thawing ice.

We say that you upstairs
are with us downstairs in spirit
as we eat meat and gravy,
duchess potatoes, broccoli,
baby sprouts, carrots,
Christmas Pudding,
mince pie,
double cream.

– Dilys Wood

©2016, poem, Dilys Wood, All rights reserved; excerpt from “Parents, an anthology of perms by women writers (Entharmon/Second Light), published here with the permission of writer and publisher

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