by CHRISTOPHER LANYON
Hot Cross Buns
The whole milk simmered gently,
steeping a glut of spices: cloves,
cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg,
saffron omitted in our first fuck-
you to the recipe writer. Look at
all the things we were so happy
to take, to make ours. The kitchen
was early-summer warm with
ginger. The dough formed under
heart line, sun line, life line, round
and soft and fragrant. We took it outside
with our ciders and talked
about how we don’t understand
our happily pregnant friends.
Our baby in its bowl refused to prove.
We kneaded in dried fruit,
hoping the little pockets of gold
would peel him open from the inside.
In Cornwall, everyone knows a selkie story.
Our fathers brag about common seals
that they are still in love with.
Dad talks about a girl
who ate her mackerel raw.
It flashed between her teeth
like rose quartz.
The myths stuck to our ribs
and on lads’ nights out
we would lay down our own tales
of the mornings we woke alone
and found our beds full of sand:
the girlfriend who threw an old coat
over her shoulders and drove to the sea,
a web-toed ex who always wanted to go swimming,
the avid collector of sea glass.
I have spent hours by the harbour
trying to pick out the dark phocine eyes
of the woman who was almost
my mother. It’s hard to know though,
most seals eat their mackerel raw.
Watch Christopher read ‘Hot Cross Buns’ here and ‘In Cornwall, everyone knows a selkie story.’ here
Christopher Lanyon is a poet and mathematician based in Nottingham, UK. His poems have been published in Abridged, Finished Creatures, Strix and Bad Betty Press’ Alter Egos anthology, among others.