Glassy eyed, they co-exist
in their glossy magnolia cell,
with the chill elegance of a marble
mantel, where the fire has gone out.
Light glints off the patent leather
girdling her thickened waist,
her decanter firmly stoppered,
her sweet viscous sherry
nearly drunk up. The toffee apple
patina of the furniture reflects
a marriage that has had the sharp edges
sucked off by habit. Small creatures
with feathers are trapped
beneath a heavy dome. She stares
at a faded portrait of him in black and white.
The past flaunts its décolletage,
its bare shoulders. The present
is muffled in a thick brown suit.
Fire and water are on the table
in front of them, but colourless
and terrible, shining with a purity
that tastes of nothing,
the greatest of these is water.
Melanie Branton is a spoken word artist from North Somerset. Her published collections are Can You See Where I’m Coming From? (Burning Eye, 2018) and My Cloth-Eared Heart (Oversteps, 2017).