First weeks, frowning, you scrabble through my kitchen drawers
for ironmongery to attend man-about-the-house jobs.
Tutting, you deepen the search, heaping a pigeon’s nest of tea
medication, manuals, on work surfaces,
your white face betraying OCD horror at this chaos,
triggering memories parental scolding at bedroom untidiness.
Later I grab black bag and clear out 20 years’ worth of stuff.
String, I learn is standard as white goods in most homes.
Previously I have Robinson-Crusoe-improvised
with cotton, old wool and bin-bag-ties,
but once you buy a ball from Pound Shop
I cut improvident lengths to bind perennials to stakes,
until the ball is exhausted then forget to add to shopping list,
so revert to securing fox gloves with odd shoe lace.
One evening, I catch you observing me, hands in pockets,
chuckling as I mash spuds using fork for the job,
distaff preference as far back as grandmother.
You don’t have a proper potato masher? Incredulity
as if we still used an outside toilet.
The correct tool is gifted me but I find it too flimsy for
so - cooking climax - I default-grab a fork, leaving masher to
jam up drawer.
Laying the table, you forage in a drawer of orphaned cutlery,
next day buy new set, militarily consigned in canteen.
I start off with good intensions but soon washing-up tedium
has me regressing to randomly flinging forks
into compartments until they become desegregated.
After a jokey talking to, I retrain my hands to pause and place
in correct pockets until it becomes second nature.
Few months later, I discover I must have nodded away
during some culinary crisis, power of attorney over one drawer
that is now packing blokes’ essentials: pliers, hammer, torches…
which I may borrow but not use with usual gung-ho abandon
for fear my heavy hands will blunt, break, buckle,
finished with I must not chuck just anywhere,
but return to your drawer now.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Fiona Sinclair
would be pleased to hear them.