Poetry Shelf Occasional Poems: Jenny Powell’s ‘The Girl and the Poet Read Tea Leaves in Paris-Gore’

The Girl and the Poet Read Tea Leaves in Paris-Gore

Spilt tea settles between Formica
flicks of colour, flecks of leaves
turn on a red table.

In front of them a collusion of fate,
a collision of cups in a clumsy act,
the leaves of a script set out before them.

Butter sizzled and browned on a black griddle,
hoisted flags of wet washing hung
in a damp wait, a forgotten cigarette smoking
in the ashtray, the teapot cosy
in crocheted stripes.
On the red Formica table,
pikelets dripped the thin juice of melted syrup
down her fingers, onto her dress.

They change their table, order a new
pot of tea and a plate of hot pancakes.
The syrup melts thin and juicy, drips

down her fingers onto her dress. He gives
her a serviette to soak up the mess.
She folds it in half for her own plot.

Jenny Powell


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