Bon Appetit

The whiff of morning coffee brings a smile to her lips.
She admires the outline of Adam’s silhouetted form
against the curtain.
8.00 a.m. All’s quiet in the scaly coruscating avenue out front.
The first trucker trudges in, gruffly demanding to be fed.
She lays out the order: greasy bacon and eggs
and some cheap, frothing beer.
She flashes a wry smile, chiding with her eyes:
‘You get what you order. This ain’t fine dining.
No gourmet dishes here. No French Bordeaux.’

Adam’s dressed in a crisp, new set of clothes.
The trucker wolfs down his food sedulously,
crumples his napkin with his fat, bulbous fingers.
Adam leaves in a blue 1997 Chrysler Concorde.
It screeches like a banshee every time he hits the gas.
The trucker leaves. He’s replaced by an
unassuming creep, in less than ten minutes.
He sits at the same table sheepishly, his
tawny head bowed curiously.

Lucy flounces to and fro, in a plaid fuchsia skirt,
her sepia sandals thudding violently against
the unprotesting floor. Mary emerges hurriedly
from the kitchen, bearing a laden tray
and sets it out with a sonorous plop.
Lucy has already taken down the order
and administered plain water.
9.00 a.m. Footfalls rapidly increasing.
The corner cafe’s doling out stiff competition.
“You’ve got to be careful these days.
You can’t hire the wrong blokes.”
“Yeah, that’s right. They win you over with
a sugary smile and then deal you out.”

Mrs. Olsen is out for a merry jaunt somewhere.
“Merry, is it?” “Well I hope for her sake it is!”
“You can deliver her parcel at Mr. Bagwell’s.
It’s down the road, just two blocks away.”
The strapping mailman leaves without a fuss.
The rustic smell of his cologne lingers for a while.
She looks at his large, retreating back with a smirk.
An animated sigh escapes her, her mind quips pertly:
“I’d take you seriously if you weren’t a mailman”.

Ten year old Amy is cycling down the road
in a frilly green frock. Crimson enthusiasm
illuminates the porcelain cockles of her heart.
The long, warm rays of the sun
cradle her scrawny little face with affection.
She’s usually out in the streets with Jamie.
Amy hurtles headlong into a gaping crater
near the crossroads. The mailman helps her up
and walks her to her doorstep.
“Wonder where Jamie is these days?”
“Quite right. No one’s seen her since Hallowe’en.”
“Perhaps she’s gone to live with her mom,
on the other side of town. Her stepdad’s loaded!”

Adam returns in a bustle. He approaches the counter stiffly.
He’s asking for something with a strained urgency.
She notices the faint smear of ketchup residue
glaring sagaciously from his shirt-front.
Lucy is indulgent and obliging.
“A sweet, chirping little cherry, ain’t she?”
“An absolute darling, for sure! Comely too!”
Adam’s delighted with the attention showered
on him, his belly filling with musky manly pride.
The fat trucker demands to be fed fast.
“Pipe down. It’s not like you’ve got to get to some
Meeting”, scream her knitted brows.
Mary’s struggling to catch up. Orders and curses are piling up.

The short fella in the baggy trousers
hoarsely asks where the gas station is.
10.00 a.m. “Why isn’t the newspaper on the stand yet?”
A large mug of swirling, foaming beer crashes to the floor.
Mary apologizes with a pained look, rushing to clean up.
Adam leaves jerkily, his lanky frame slightly stooped.
Lucy delays work till his back disappears
behind the tedious conglomeration of
shabby houses lining the street. He is seen no more.
Lucy’s reprimanded for shoddiness.
“The ashtray’s full and we are out of cigarettes”,
someone bawls snappishly with a sibilant hiss.
“Go borrow a newspaper from somewhere.
Go. Hurry!”

The mailman appears, relieved of all his parcels.
He sifts through the wad of sweltering notes
in his fingers, with a childish gleam in his eyes.
11.00 a.m. The bloke in faded jeans complains
of too much oil in his pork ribs.
He licks his fingers dry with relish,
a ravenous delight springing to his mug-like face.
“Perhaps you shouldn’t serve this with pork ribs.”
“Perhaps you should stand behind the counter
and show us how to run the place.”
He pays and leaves; the buoyancy in his step
transmuted to a diffident gait of defeat.

The newspaper borrowed has serviced well.
Lucy trims her nails in the kitchen and flings
The scarlet edges nonchalantly into the trashcan
with a chatelaine’s air of charlatan ease.
12.00 p.m. There’s breaking news on television.
The small T.V’s switched on with an energetic bang.
There was an attempt on the President’s life.
He is critically injured, but alive.
“Where, oh where?”
“Wasn’t he on a peace mission to Turkey?”
“No, no Syria.”
“Somewhere in rural Romania?”
“Romania? No. Kiev.”
“Just listen to the broadcaster, will you?”
“It’s Syria. I told you.”

“Who’s going to step in if he’s hospitalized for long?”
“The Vice-President.”
“No, there’ll be elections.”
“His stint is almost over anyway.”
“Oh stop being so bloody fanciful.”
“The Vice-President will take over.”
“I had a thing for the Vice-President anyway.
He’s younger, tanner; looks spunkier.”
A bearded six-footer’s at the door,
surveying the scene with an expert eye.
He swoops in with an air of intent purpose
like some overlarge bird of prey.
12.30 p.m. “It’s rush-hour traffic boss.”
“Call in Harris from next door.
We need a hand here. Go. Quick.”
“He can’t come. His dog barfed up a lung.”
“No. A shoe, I think. Not a lung.”
“I heard his mother’s sick. She’s got the bug.”
“No, not a bug. Some kind of fatal fever.”
“But he must come. He has to.
Whatever it be, come he must.”

Aneesha Roy

About Ijagun Poetry Journal

Ijagun Poetry Journal is a quarterly journal that provides a platform from which we can tell our own stories in the authenticity of their multiplicity through the poetic medium. We don’t want to hear these stories from our master “griots” alone; we want to hear from those mastering their art, too. Hence, we aim at publishing new and emerging poets. We also welcome the works of established poets in order to encourage the poetic genius of those mastering poetic art. We prize original works that conform to, break or reinvent conventions. Again, we accept reviews and critical essays on poetry. We also accept powerful art works and photographs that make us appreciate the "poetry" in everything.
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