Cooking Lessons

She had us stand
to the scratch of
blades, opening,
from Bramleys, flat

spirals we’d match
for length,
so thin our knives
ghosted through.

Then, she’d pick
from lifted trays,
like any marketeer,

rose transparencies
to mark (under ‘peel’)
from ten. On the tables
blue bowls of

vanilla slices,
each purse of six cloves
relaxing in the ovens’

Breaking the drought

Not counting
the last tank’s
thirty gallons,
we took an old prerogative

with basins, jugs,
charged the pledge-
footed bath with its
full slipper of

rich nephologies
our oils no more
met than
turned to.

‘Some joculatrix!’
You drew from the
mirror a damp
‘Femme à la Source’

who, raising a
soaped hand,
caught first testing
of slates

minutes before
in quick morse from
Harter and Slater Fell
the pipes wetted and eased.

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