This poem appeared in Mslexia magazine in 2008, a runner-up in its annual competition judged that year by Carol Ann Duffy. As I wrote, blood and guts slithered easily into the poem. Carol Ann sees a Plath influence here, and who am I to disagree?

 

Sweetbread

 

I would offer you

red meat. I'd spread

purpling offal for you; suet,

so you'd reel and sweat

blood, you'd

fry like a herring.

 

I know a stall

that sells to the willing

liver, afterbirth. My caul

for a winding-sheet; tell

that butcher I'll squat at his feet

if he'll open the coat of that heart

 

if he'll pipe me a lungful,

draft me a whiff of the slit gut, show me

sausage-stuffing, make me just

one alchemical pie.

Meanwhile, I'll

ply my trade, sell you short-

 

bread, round neatnesses

rolled, flattened, flavoured,

twice-cooked sweetness.

Traybake, I'll say. Come buy.

And you do, damn you,

you do.