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.

Poems from Young Men Dancing

Linda reading:

Who were those young men dancing?
And why were they dancing with you?
And what was the meaning of all that business
around the area of the pelvis, both pelvises,
I mean, since I saw you with two of them–
two men, that is, with one pelvis each.
Though there is your pelvis too, to reckon with.
It made quite a show of itself out there
on the dance floor. Not to be overlooked
nor slighted in any way, sticking like a magnet
to the erratic rhythms of those young men,
their jeans curving and cupping and making
promises in all directions of things to come.

Which way to go, you must have asked yourself
a dozen times at least, as the young man
with the smile turned this way, and the
young man with the dreamy eyes turned that,
and you were dazed, in circles, spinning
this way and that way, brushing up against them
in confusion, body parts in gentle friction
sliding back and forth, nearly seeming like
you hadn’t meant to do it.
Did you mean to do it?

Could they feel your nipples harden?
Did they know what must have happened
as your thighs began to stick together, throbbing
to the music? Thank God there was the music
you could hide behind and make it look like dancing.
I’m wondering just how much attention
young men pay.