In my hand the buttock was like a cool fruit.
But I could tell that this had not always been so
and that it did not always appear so.
It was slippery like a water droplet.
And in my mind there were a thousand names for it.
And I wished that my hand could be like a nasturtium leaf
and hold it with its tiny hairs in a constant heavy globe.
Because of the shopkeeper’s hands,
they had freckles and short ginger hairs,
I always bought a whole barracuda.
I didn’t want to see them tear it in half.
I didn’t want to see his nails dig in to the crust.
One day he asked what you were doing.
‘I’m perusing,’ you said.
‘That’s a good word,’ he said.
By the time we got home all the soft bread
and the crust was hollow.
‘Mice,’ said Mum.
I was sent to get the bread and no matter
how much we ate on the way
there was still always enough
to make sandwiches and eat with soup.
I picked at the crust with a finger.
You picked a hole in the middle.
We burrowed in to the white dark warmth.
And we lived in there
for as long as we could.