Glossy women made her tremble,
every word shiny and sure,
we’re going to give Jenny a make-over,
Jen, the decaying building,
the clueless relic.

They made her sweat, even more,
those women with Dior skirts
and nipped-in waists, who warned
the night before the wedding
about being prepared.

But it was 1951. Next day,
she tried not to faint at the altar
although the neighbours whispered,
later forced herself to stuff
some morsel of the wedding breakfast
through her lips, like bad language
or something a woman never did
masticate, masticate, chew, chew, swallow,
the fist of her still-hidden child
walloping her gorge as the best man rose,
twinkle-eyed, yellow card in hand,
a twist of jokes she’d be bound to appreciate.

From ‘Those April Fevers’ (Arc Publications, RRP£9.99)

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