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at our table

we eat our own tongues

             wash off the dirt the villagers flung

                       coat them in flour ground by our foreign

                                hands   season with kauderwelsch and fry

the fuck out of them

 

             mother plates them garnished

                                   with unspeakable accents

                                           her hair coiffed in the style all the ladies in the village wear

 

father’s palate thick with a dialect

 

                                    that cannot be excised

                                              takes out his otherness   puts it in a glass on the sill

                                                            where it grins at passer-by

 

 this is how we eat: swallowing

 

the light filtered by the jalousie stripes us all in sun

                    and shade   outside a single peal of the big bronze bell

                                       announces a quarter past normal

                                                                           the scraping of knives and forks on plates

up and down

                             the streets echoing like mechanical birdsong

 

 sister pours sips of her blood

 

 into our mouths from a cup made of a gold

                                                so lustrous it makes the future seem impossibly

 

 bright

 

brother leans back    balancing on the hind legs of his chair

 

stuck

            in the moment of falling    his mouth open

                                     full of broken

                                                         swings stolen from the playground

                                                                                       behind the house where we lived

this is us

 

mealtimes are holy and we the congregation

                                  knees studded with gravel are learning

                                              how to pray again   to mortal gods   with dirty hands

                                                     with chipped off teeth   and accents thick as bunker walls

 

made of bread


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is a queer writer with disabling chronic illness living in Sussex. Dillon’s work is published both online and in print, including Poetry Wales and Ink, Sweat and Tears. Shortlists include Nine Arches Primers 2021 and Creative Futures Writers’ Award 2022. Winner of the Rebecca Swift Foundation Women Poets’ Prize 2022. They are working towards that debut collection.

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