She comes into my kitchen for a slice
of black bread, buttered. I've grown so tired,
she says, of cake.
She comes out from the Hill for the last
of Gran's bitter ale, tells me
nectar wine grows cloying.
Gran said I cried a year and a day
when she left. I was three.
I am older, now
than the stranger in my kitchen.
I make her coffee, over-roasted
and thick. She reaches
But Gran made a bowl
of rowan when she left, and spiked it
with horseshoe nails
to bind me. She stops.
All the bitter
in this house, I say, every salt-washed shard
is yours. But the sugar has a price.
And I wait
for her hand to pull back to its cup