V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





Steam & blisters, blisters & steam—
the baker drops the pan!
Catching it with a shriek, the fry cook sends it sailing
to the busboy, who punts it into the sink
where, as if under the protection of the patron saint of puddings,
it comes to rest right-side-up, intact, quivering
with the delicacy appropriate to its nature.
And all the while,
the sun is hissing into the sea;
the kitchen clocks are clamoring;
the tea kettle is wailing
the dishwasher bell is clanging;
&, immaculate amidst vapor veils,
the bowls & spoons are glinting in their slots,
too hot to retrieve;
just as the tea's too hot to sip;
the pan's too hot to lift;
& the pudding's too hot to taste,
because this is the emergency
for which everyone's been pining
all these interminable puddingless years—
but there's scarcely
an instant, a breath, a flash,
before everything freezes over.


© by Claire Bateman


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