“Buttered Scones” By Gareth Culshaw

She had the look of a Playmobil in her features,
walked with hot-coal feet, smiled as if she
knew the world was going to end tomorrow.

At break she smoked by the doorway, puffed
the ink out of a Biro, made paper aeroplanes
from her wages and threw them onto the street.

She tied her hair in a bobble, left her fringe
to dangle as children’s legs over a wall. Her boss
shouted her back in with his bass fish mouth.

She sighed. Her feet tapped the wooden floor
that made her think the Grim Reaper was walking
behind. She served customers with nozzle-squeezing

hands. The cash draw opened with a rattle,
closed with coffin heaviness. Her boss stood with his
chef hat. His blackberry pupils eyed everyone in case

they ran without paying, or worse, paid with a tip.
She poured milk into a jug, filled a pot with boiling
water, buttered a scone as if it might explode.

She waved a couple out of the door, straightened up
some chairs, took a sip of water from the flower vase.
Her boss checked his watch, gorilla frowned, spat

into the chip fryer, and went out back for a piss.
She checked the clock, knew her kids were leaving
school in an hour. Saw her face in the decaying lettuce

that sat in the kitchen. Another couple walked in and she
told them to leave quickly before the chef came back.
She closed the door and took another swig of flower water.


Gareth lives in Wales. He has two collections by FutureCycle called The Miner and A Bard’s View. He is an MA student at Manchester Met. Web – gculshawpoetry.wordpress.com Twitter – @Culshawpoetry1

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