Things I Left in Germany
Two pillows, shoes I never wore,
a bath mat, a frying pan,
a blue pot on the bathroom shelf
with an anchor printed on it.
Three broken slats on the bed
and superglue stains.
Also coat hangers, drawing pins,
washing up liquid. My boyfriend.
The next hour of time. A broken
office chair, vacuum bags.
A thicker skin. My signature.
The hob cleaner than when
I first moved in. A few spare Euros
and a nostalgia for England.
A language I’ll slowly forget.
The bravest part of myself.
When we’re apart again I find myself eating the things he fed me –
salami, cheese, bread, apples, kiwis – so many kiwis.
He bought us a whole carton, all of them rock hard still,
but we ate them anyway, peeled them with knives:
his ridiculous care not to waste the flesh, almost tender
with his blade, coring out the little white nub at the end.
We feasted on them like peaches, cupped the bare wet flesh,
the sharpness and the seeds and the juice
sudden in our mouths, the joy of it. At home
I sit a packet of six kiwis on my desk
and think of him. They are too ripe to eat this way –
I have to cut them in half and scoop them empty
with a teaspoon: so much sadder, more mechanical,
a process of start to finish, whole to half, full
to empty. Is it the lack of tenderness
of the chop and hollow, of their sad skins flopped
into the bin, or is it the lack of his kitchen table,
the breadth and freshness from Italian daylight,
of him setting a fruit down at my place, us sitting,
comfortably quiet, knives scraping careful as woodwork?
Jenny Danes was born in Chelmsford in 1995 and studies English Literature and German at Newcastle University. In 2013 and 2016 she was highly commended in the Bridport Prize for poetry and in 2016 she won The Poetry Business New Poets Prize. Her work has appeared in various magazines including The Rialto, Magma, The North and Brittle Star, and her forthcoming pamphlet ‘Gaps’ will be published with smith|doorstop in July 2017.
Photo: Laura Beresford Photography