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Sustainable Living

Ruby SILK 

At what time should I get up?
At what time        

        [muted chatter             at best atmospheric           the sound of a coffee cup         finding its place          on a saucer]

                      should I get up                                                 and what
should I put my shoes on?
Should I put my shoes on
        my hands peel apart beneath the dryer, watch
        sinews and stringbones exposing themselves
        skin splaying like the red sea,         see: cells
                she sells seashells on the sea-floor/ she sells shecells
it is ones duty to dust oneself from shelves                 I must I must improve my bust                 I must I must improve my bust [tiny whisper: exfoliate] Yes! I will be late!
I will be late if I don’t scrub up nicely.

What if one day my alarm sounds
and in the wash of secondshoursdays it takes to come round
a fly
lands on my leg         or clavicle (he!he!) and I watch it
                        so black
                        an animated
                        full stop
                to rub its little paws together, comb back its three headhairs
                and then I forget altogether to be hungry

                [gaping yawn]

Who is hungry enough?
How is enough hungry to recipe
and should I cook the recipe, then what should I cook, the
recipe and how to cook the recipe every day threetimesorfour in healthy
magazines that slip off the table they are so thick with protein

                [pulls limply dog-eared recipe from topcoatpocket
                fishily oil spotted, unfolds with some difficulty owing to

                 –I should have known it started in garlic and onion
                 –6 anchovy fillets                 –1 tablespoon of capers
                 –1 can of chopped tomatoes                  –mother could never cook
                 –basil which is green and the leaves curl into themselves quietly                  –long spaghettis go on forever
                 –don’t make me say it again

                she folds sadly up her only recipe and
                tucks it into topcoatpocket]

If one day my alarm sounds and I am dead.
In this heat it is better not to stir. 

Ruby SILK is a writer from Brighton, currently living in Belgium and working for an NGO that focuses on homelessness. Her poems have been published in Ambit and Pain.


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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