Jemima Childs


The Three Wives


I modelled my husband
by beating cacao butter
with Dutch cocoa.
He was polite, well-dressed,
knew how to socialise and talk
about horticulture and silk
cravats. We were invited
to dinner soirées
and afternoon aperitifs, where
his dark, piercing eyes would seek out
the youngest woman in the room;
their hair long, their skin fair.
I packed a small valise
and fled while he slept


I met him in the tropics
handsome, tanned, his white shirt
billowing over Cancer and Capricorn.
We hiked through thick
jungle terrain, arguing until our
throats bled:
he didn’t want children, he
wanted gold –
I rained down on him, beating
harsh words into his flesh.
Aztecs came to visit,
worshipping at his feet.
Hostile and angry, I evaporated
into the humidity


We sit by a crackling fire
he, limbs spread across a chaise longue
spinning stories of his youth,
wrinkles marking his memories.
He tells me about countries I’ve never visited
and that Adonis is a dying god –
I laugh. He tells me
he changed the world.
Sitting in silence,
he writes his obituary on the back
of a napkin, tells me
angel wings are gossamer –
and with a chocolatey kiss,
he jumps into the flames


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Jemima Childs is a poet and journalist living in London and currently freelances in both fields. She’s an optimist, and always hopes that inspiration will hit!