For more poetry

Alan Jefferies

Alan Jefferies

The Wedding Rice

Still eating the wedding rice
months after the big day.
Not that we needed to, mind you,
there was just so much of it,
a year's supply maybe.

Remember the night we spent
filling tiny sandwich bags,
neatly wrapping each with crisp
yellow ribbon?

It's not hard to imagine
there's still a lot of sweetness there,
cooked into these pearly grains of rice
saved from the summer,
so full of promise,
so full of love.


by day
the shop on the corners
red globules of meat
pigs trotters, liver clusters

by night
bright red paper lanterns


You came back
and wanted to buy ice
for some reason
which seemed obvious to me at the time.
I knew where you could buy ice,
at a place just around the corner —
there were great big blocks of it sitting inside the factory.
So we went there,
I leading the way
and you intent on following me.

When we arrived I ran into an old friend
who was there for a similar reason.
We were both surprised to see each other,
but that wore off after a few minutes
and we were left looking around at these huge sheets of ice
hanging around the walls.

You soon became one of the workers in the factory,
looking after the ice, acting like you'd been doing it
all your life.
And that was the last I ever saw of you.
I looked for the ice factory
around the corner sometimes
but never could find the same place again.
No one had heard of it.

Someone suggested that it might have melted,
but I knew that nothing could be that simple.