We eat rotisserie chicken in a German car park
with Deutsch saver slogans posing in awkward angles
on the periphery, but it tastes just like it would inside our
four walls. House beats rain bullets on car windows
and slap the tarmac that men with beer bottles are
jostling their quivering feet on. In the supermarket
we reached for familiarity like pouring our hearts
onto a postcard bound for home: a pillowed
packet of fresh greens, a verdant pesto bottle,
debating over the white or wholemeal greek-style
wraps in their beaming cling film vest. Two tables,
in the process of subsiding to nature, four chairs pushed together,
huddled over our feast, almost children playing tea parties
in the declining half-light of day, tearing chicken into strips
with our international hands as steam elapses
like freshly dewed tears,
hot enough to finally melt the frost of my childhood,
to let that secret time evaporate like dew on a morning
windowsill. It will not be a religious prayer I say to myself
and the ever-lowering sun, but a peace offering. The years
will lay like knives in my bed tonight, prodding my back and
mind as they bestow the brunt of my belittled wisdoms,
an ever-constant reminder of the lamb-like sacrilege
of my youth, of fragile naivety. As a child I preferred the hugs
of willow trees, their green hushes, the obscurity of daylight
never ceasing to stop time, if just for a moment’s breath,
an exhale of chlorophyll, two, three, four.
There are no watches here, no mechanical timepieces,
no alarms for the new dawn where I am supposedly baptised
a new girl. Just the taste of salt and oil, fat and gorgeous.
Chicken skin sprinkled around my lips.
Olivia Burgess is an eighteen-year-old word chef raised and residing near London, UK. Soon to embark on an English degree at King’s College London, her poetry typically focuses on her raging internal conflicts, her muse, and the inextricable relationship between nature and humanity. She has been published in over twenty micro press avenues, and she hopes you take care of yourself today.