Louise Peterkin



The King who ate himself to death

But it was Fat Wednesday and soon to be Lent.

But the blowhard lobster was centrepiece; his magnanimous claws

said "pull up a chair".

But the kippers came trussed up in pairs – co-dependant Pisces,

perfectly ichthyomorphic! Sharing two eyes,

lips melded to a fountain spout.

But the weeks ahead to go without.

But the sauerkraut!

But there was a compelling visage

on tin-glazed earthenware. I had to eat

to reveal the plate's gaze.

But the caviar winked like hawthorns.

The hawthorns were hulled like monarchs for schnapps.

But not a wince as the champagne

was sapped, so smooth it was, and perfumed.

But the turnip was smashed on letter-thin crispbread,

sweet and ear waxy.

But a funky, wise pig head was cobbled to brawn, fanned

out like a card deck on white Chinese porcelain.

But the sauces of gin, the sauces of cherry.

But the candles guttered like history.

But each pretty twinned kipper

held a hot hunk of butter!

But the fourteen dishes of semla

But the fourteen dishes of semla:

almond cream filled,

corroding swaddles in raisin-steeped milk.

But I thought there was time ahead still

to recompense,

day after day after day.



Louise Peterkin is a poet from Edinburgh. In 2016 she was a recipient of a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in the poetry category. She is the co-editor, along with Rob A. Mackenzie, of Spark: Poetry and Art inspired by the Novels of Muriel Spark (Blue Diode Press, 2018). She is an assistant poetry editor for The Interpreter's House. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including The Dark Horse, The Glasgow Review of Books, Magma and The North, and her first collection of poetry, The Night Jar, is soon to be published by Salt.