Dump Him

Strawberry Dress

The radio lends structure to my day, offering points of reference of rootedness. On Sunday afternoons I listen to Poetry Extra whilst preparing supper. It brings the unfamiliar, the strange. I taste the words, running them over my tongue, only to revisit the experience, though this time prepared, when it is repeated early the next morning. Last week there were poems, readings and interviews with the American poets Louise Gluck and George Simic. I was caught by Simic’s poem about the County Fair and the six-legged dog. The presenter, Daljit Nagra, described his work as ‘unexpected turns of joy’. Unexpected turns of joy. Yes. I stir the soup. Yes. Yes.

Wednesday was a scratchy day. The night before had been a broken one. The harsh bell of the telephone. Too much. I unravelled. Four times I went up there. Was it the remedy? Perhaps. Finally, we came home. I ate porridge, he ate cornflakes. Too jaded to make proper food. But I did make time. I did make time to stew the berries for breakfast. Summer berries. Not many. Just a few. Gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. An unexpected turn of joy. Right there. There in our kitchen. The feel of the tight, shiny redcurrants, the hard hairy-ness of the gooseberries as I nipped off their stalks and the blackcurrants, that smell, so evocative of summer. Past summers, a musty, dusty warm smell. I remember the scratches on skin from going into the bushes to pick them. The nets against the birds. The stains of red on fingers.

I watched as she strode into the canteen. A short, diminutive figure in black. Black shorts, high on the leg, torn, ripped stockings and Doc Martin boots. Her hair was long and dyed a flat black. She wore it in a chignon, to one side, for the other side had been shaved, shorn hard. She strode in defiant, ready to bristle, to scowl. Under her black leather jacket she wore a black T shirt. Emblazoned in white were the words DUMP HIM.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.