She walks through the door
and feels a surge of hot blood
in the pit of her stomach.
"Sit here" he says "near the
conveyor belt. That way you'll
be sure to enjoy the choicest cuts."
His hands are like creamy bars
of soap, his teeth like minature coffins
standing upright in a parlour.
Crippen works in his open-plan kitchen,
slicing the cheeks off a glistening tuna.
"Don't trust him" it says,
"he is disrespectful with
the scalpel. Look how he's abused my
beautiful button eyes and indigo skin!"
A man sitting opposite waves,
doffs his trilby, smooths his waxed
moustache, slips her a calling card:
Chief Inspector Dew available for
christenings, supermarket openings,
and family problems of a delicate nature.
He picks at the tiny bowls revolving
before her eyes and her stomach pains conjoin
like the finale of an opera -
a crescendo, a synthesis, a coming together
of all her earthly woes. "My life
has become a spiral staircase" she says
"a staircase knitted out of noodles,
wasabi, and the glistening skin
of a butchered fish!"
The sushi is still warm from
Crippen's salted fingers.
"I would have loved you better"
is Dew's sweet lament. "I would
not have abandoned you in your hour
of need." A clock chimes twelve.
It is close to the appointed hour.
Soon Dr.Crippen will usher her into a back room
and cauterize the pain that swims in
her womb. "Did you love him ?" asks Dew.
She smiles and wipes a tear. "Yes,
I loved him. And now all that remains
of our love will be extinguished forever."
The tuna gasps for breath. The conveyor
belt stops. The rice grows cold
in the pan. Crippen flees his restaurant
through a hidden back door and into
the arms of his lover, bound
for Antwerp and a Pacific-liner.
"I'll be back" says Inspector Dew
as he jumps the counter "just as soon
as the scoundrel is behind bars!"
But she's already embracing the secret
mother within - like a staircase awaiting,
a glistening voyage of her own, a luminous
transcendental sphere with indigo skin.