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I’m hiding in the looped double eff of the title, sniggering,

wondering whether it alludes to something

(obviously nothing lofty like allegory

but it certainly looks lewd)

And yet, something’s not quite right –

it doesn’t work.

Pickling brings to mind vinegar at best,

at worst, sad jars of penises preserved for years

on sagging shelves.

And yet…

Muffins, muffin, muff.

I work on that image –

making muff –

but soon concede that

even a longed for afternoon upstairs

with rain drumming the pavements

and the curtains drawn,

can’t actually make muff.

And so, I’m forced to leave the

smutty shadows of the effs,

and stick to this:

I wake up early to write a second draft.

You, jetlagged, (it doesn’t exist, you insist)

wake too

and creep downstairs to make muffins

which we eat for breakfast with the girls.

Later, while I struggle to make speech sound real,

you get out the stepladder and pick pears,

then drive to Tesco for juniper berries

and flood the air with vinegar

that catches in my nose and throat

before becoming something

as rare and amorous as love.

Pickled pears with true love and blue cheese.

Outside, the rain starts to pound the pavements.

Photo by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels

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