A slow, stab, flourish, and lift
of piccalilli – turmeric’s yellow twist:
This pot of eastern reinvention,
a bastard child of the Empire.
My pre-punk Nan, war-widowed,
smoothed it across the corned beef –
her fatty, but still flaky, meat solution,
shipped in tins, each with a key.
We sat, spread on the yellow sofa,
with our plates balanced,
watching Nan attend to her fags –
back then they didn’t give you cancer;
that room a fug of Silk Cut and Players,
exhaled in stylish puffs, I watched
their twists in the mote-sparkled light
as my relatives prayer-hushed
for the football results.
When my uncle spoke,
exposing his stained teeth,
we knew no one had won.