Quickdraw

By Carol Ann Duffy

I wear the two, the mobile and the landline phones,
like guns, slung from the pockets on my hips. I’m all
alone. You ring, quickdraw, your voice a pellet
in my ear, and hear me groan.

You’ve wounded me.
Next time, you speak after the tone. I twirl the phone,
then squeeze the trigger of my tonge, wide of the mark.
You choose your spot, then blast me

through the heart.
And this is love, high noon, calamity, hard liqour
in the old Last Chance saloon. I show the mobile
to the sheriff; in my boot, another one’s

concealed. You text them both at once. I reel.
Down on my knees, I fumble for the phone,
read the silver bullets of your kiss. Take this …
and this … and this … and this … and this …

Gun With Hand #1. Vija Celmins, 1964

Gun With Hand #1. Vija Celmins, 1964

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Valentine

By Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

Here.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Lethal.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

Onion brown globe Charles Jones

Onion Brown Globe. Charles Jones

 


Chocoholic

By Carol Ann Duffy

Into the half-pound box of Moonlight
my small hand crept.
There was an electrifying rustle.
There was a dark and glamorous scent.
Into my open, moist mouth
the first Montelimar went.

Down in the crinkly second layer,
five finger-piglets snuffled,
among the Hazelnut Whirl,
the Caramel Square,
the Black Cherry and Almond Truffle.

Bliss.

I chomped. I gorged.
I stuffed my face,
till only the Coffee Cream
was left for the owner of the box –
tough luck, Anne Pope –
oh, and half an Orange Supreme.