Terry Collett


A Lucky Woman's Daughter.


Helen and you
walked home from school
the long way
you wanted to show her

the man
in the pie and mash shop
cutting up eels
for jellied eels

or for the pies
how he would stand there
with his knife
and take up an eel

and holding it
firmly on a board
would cut off its head
and then proceed

to slice it up
into small pieces
and into a bucket
on the floor

and when you showed her
standing outside the shop
peering through
the window

she said
O my God
and put a hand
to her mouth

and spoke
through her hand
and added
poor eels

to end up
in someone's stomach
and the way
he cuts them up

and the pieces
still moving afterwards
and she moved away
and walked up the road

still holding a hand
over her mouth
you don't fancy
pie and mash then?

you said
not with eels in it no
she replied
through her fingers

you smiled
not funny
she said
poor little eel creatures

yes I guess it is
a bit brutal
you said
but fascinating

to watch
I don't think so
she said
taking her hand

from her mouth
you both went under
the subway of the junction
she slightly

in front of you
her two plaits of hair
bouncing
as she walked

her green raincoat
tied tight about her
you whistled
so that it echoed

along the subway
bouncing off the walls
all along
the artificial lights

giving off
a surreal sensation
how can people eat eels?
she asked

just the sight
puts me off
don't know
guess they don't think

of it being eels as such
just as something to eat
you said
you both came out

of the subway
on the other side
and walked along
the New Kent Road

by the cinema
she looking
at the billboards
through her thick lens glasses

are you sure your mum
doesn't mind
having me for tea?
she said

well we're not actually
having you for tea
we usually have
beans on toast

or jam sandwiches
she slapped your hand
you know what I mean
she said smiling

no Mum don't mind
you said
she invited you after all
I pleaded against it

but she wouldn't listen
you said smiling
Helen's face frowned
and she stood still

really?
she said
no I'm joking
you said

and she nodded her head
uncertainly
looking at you
through her glasses

I'm just kidding
you said
you touched her hand
she smiled

and you both walked on
and across the bomb site
the uneven ground
the puddles of rainwater

you your mother's son
and Helen
a lucky woman's
daughter.

Submitted: Monday, November 11, 2013

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