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Woman sitting in her shared and temporary office, thinking

Woman sitting in her shared and temporary office, thinking

after Karen Brodine

sometimes the only fitting word is
the bottom of a lemon that
left blueish dust in the bowl
a lush red camellia
brownish core
tot up the hours spent
peeling old oranges on sofas
JD & coke flattens
ten days ago there was another
truth pithy and toothless
segments as cheap rounds
whiteish dust on my palm
rotten luck you have to work
I say ten more assignments
it’s not so bad
the only word is I’m so angry
I’ll tell you but don’t say I said
blot out the fact I’m doing
fine but these ten more assignments
last minute favours that fill invisible
gaps of time you didn’t know you
didn’t have to spare and wow
that’s spot on that’s exactly how
I felt about it how did you
oh honey oh comradista oh sister
light rain spotting the flagstones
during cigarette breaks
a sneaking suspicion that
your heart is a
your heart is layered like
dropping petals from the brownish
core peel curled like a witch finger
nobody eats oranges anymore
only time for satsumas so easy
just slips off and in from class to
caff to bar to totally deniable
honey like we’re both adults
boy it’s dull adulating ha ha ha ha ha
we laugh about it man I’m broke
I’m so broke I’m broke I’m trying so
fucking hard to write and work and save
money fitting in my self-care
and doing my good girl labour
for you you men whose sloppy
workmanship doubles my workload
lies peel away like sunburnt skin
but somehow we’re the ones
with the cancer risk shocking
sneaking suspicion that
the system is the whiteish film
covering the eye of the dead fish
the only word is I’m so hungry
I’ll tell you but please don’t say I said
let’s not be so loud or hasty
plotting the next headline
are you fucking kidding
I just want a place to write and
work and save my money
but sure I’ll set the chairs
set my jaw to silence cut
your tender ego in my smile
a sneaking suspicion that
while you have forgotten the
feeling of Precarity
-blueish like lemon dust like the
difficulty of a bruise-
there’s nothing blocking my way
from falling but yeah we’re both
so broke so tired so baffled
by the system that’s cast a
charm for you time and time
and before we know we’re
atomised alone broke apart
by gulfs of silence gulps of
feeling not quite right but
I just can’t put my finger
finger you for sure it’s kind of
like my mouth is a scar tissue
knotting I don’t know where
the pain is located but
a sneaking suspicion that
the system is like a camellia
dropping  and the lump in
my throat is a wad of
knowledge I can’t use
that sometimes the fitting
word for that lemon is rotten

Rotten Lemon

Betsy Porritt is a poet, PhD candidate, Graduate Teaching Assistant & member of Precarious@KentUni. Her poems explore the possibilities of sound, images and multiple voices. She has been published in Datableed, Eleven Stories, Side Issues, and The Kent Review. She lives in Kent & reaaalllllyyy wants a dog.

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