Framed Woman

Claire Booker

Somewhere in the kitchen
there will be mackerel or snapper,
boned and gutted on a plate:
their scales lying in predictable ranks.
This is the odour of her life.

She can’t quite spoon herself out
of his crabshell house –
its pragmatic clapboard: so flat,
so regular, each slat casting
a thin blue shadow.

Her breasts are haltered
inside a home-sewn dress,
her hands welded to a table.
Panes of light frame
those pale arms, soft as roe.

She tries to shut out the pulse
of Atlantic rollers,
the taste of youth in her throat,
but a memory is ripening
under the cloche of his windows –

a tendril unlaces
in the white-hot sun.

After ‘Cape Cod Morning’ by Edward Hopper