I was always late that summer.
Reckoning it better to call in sick
I drifted towards the lake around two.
Grander, far, far lovelier
to freight whole toupées of weed
through my fingers
and spatterdock and gnats
than to scrape rounds of crud from the broiler.
Frog spawn was bubble-wrap on the water.
Ought to have been relief I felt,
thrumming my belly as my body
distilled all its pain and syrupy biology
like a lava lamp.
But I was listless and damp.
My thighs a pair of bellows
slapping out a dark smell of coin
into the sky.
All afternoon the trains clattered on the line.
Back in town, vast mothers reclined
fanning themselves like libertines
on verandas. Calling out
to children with slow loris faces.
I imagined them waving handkerchiefs,
those wide-eyed kids
as I rattled on down the track.
But I wouldn't look back:
no, straight on ahead
stoking the fuel in boiler
orchestrating steam like a barista.
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.