by Kate Paine

The chug of the dishwasher
Means I don’t hear you
Cry out,
When I stick the knife in your back.
I’m in the middle of
Chopping pumpkin
For the soup,
So I wrench the knife out
And rinse it in cold water,
Snagging a tea towel with which to dry it
While you slump to the floor,
Bleeding on the tiles.

I pare and dice,
Trimming down excess,
Until all that’s left is
The feeling of satisfaction that comes with a
Job well done.
The soup may well be a little late
But your demise can’t come soon enough,
Not for me.
I chop and hack,
Saving the trimmings for the pig
I don’t,
As yet,

A snuffling pig
To clear the detritus
collecting on the kitchen floor.
Crumbs, regrets,
And you.
But who am I kidding?
There will be no pig,
Just as there is no cat,
Not yet,
Though the children ask

Their pleas fall on ears
Capable of hearing
But which ignore,
What’s that?
Speak up!
You’re hard to understand,
Lying there,
Face down,
On the kitchen floor.

This recipe,
(A favourite of mine),
Is for disaster,
Spelling out what isn’t said
Out loud,
Lest the walls have ears
(Hear, hear).
Take one pumpkin,
Chop into bite-size portions.
Use a sharpened knife,
And look neither left
Nor right,
Lest you find yourself stabbing the one you love in the back,
Making a pig’s ear out of what was,
Until now,
A perfectly ordinary evening.

When the soup is ready,
Call your loved ones,
(Those not prone on the floor),
To the table.
Dinner is ready.
Ignore your father.
He’s already eaten,
The taste still bitter in his mouth,
No doubt,
As words so often can be.

Kate Paine is an Australian writer, musician, and teacher living in a small village near Zurich, Switzerland. She teaches piano and singing, with an emphasis on creativity and exploration, and has an English writing consultancy, offering writing and research skills coaching, collaborative editing, and content development. She has a PhD in creative writing and has recently completed her first novel.