Lunch in Levenshulme

Linda reading:

The pickles were the best part,
right from the jar, dripping a bit
on the newspapers and leaflets
strewn on the kitchen table.
No need to use a fork, I said.
My finger fit inside and I can
pull one out for each of you.
The vinegar made our lips sting
and both of them wanted more than one.
But the sandwiches and spinach parcels
neatly wrapped in filo dough were eaten
only by us who had brought them from the deli.
No, he said, I’ve had a snack already
and a snooze, sat here in front of the TV
after I’d done a morning’s work in the studio.

My David, he said more than once, as he stroked
the polished features of his son, carved into
mammoth chunks of wood. His house was full of
Davids, other carvings, drawings, mirrors,
paintings, posters, right up to the ceiling.
Then David offered me an almond slice.
You must, he said, eat this.
It’s the best thing the deli has to offer.
And so it was. David and I ate everything.
What more could we want?

Before we left, still in the kitchen,
his father stood up
and held out his arms to me,
and then again at the inner door
and again at the outer door,
so full of art and appetites.
A joy to me, he said, again and again.
My son is a joy.