Released

I

We’d always got by, somehow.
But now there was nothing:
a wallet of air;
my card spat out
at my foolish, balloon face;
and the shopping trapped
in the trolley’s cage.

II

At the foodbank store, the winding metal door clanks back;
A harvest, sealed under pressure, jostles on the shelves,
ready for release.  The scales speak the weight of the boxes
in an American voice of priestly calm.
Tins and packets are caressed from hand to hand,
marked with coloured spots: Best Before End.
Pasta, soup, tea, jam…

III

‘Custard,’ reads my son, ‘Spam.’  He laughs at the silly sound.
He has never seen such a tin; he loves the way you turn it,
the way you peel the meat out, the way you’re provided with a
special key –

 

Elaine Ewart, Fenland Poet Laureate

For the opening of the Ely Foodbank, November 2012

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