The Second Week of the Soap
By Fiona Ritchie Walke


Mrs Thorpe's Arithmetic

A new term and we are adding beetroot and fig.
If a man bought the last of the spring onions.
We calculate the length of runner beans,
divide up soup ingredients
while her muddy hands mark papers.

Christmas gifts of pomegranates challenge us
to crack leather skin, count jewel seeds.
In February we make get well cards,
she sends blood oranges and a sum.
If a man had three artichokes, took away one.
We deliver summer peaches
to her hospital bed, tally up our tomatoes.

Today her rhythm of fruit and veg
multiplies with my children. Here are peas
falling from a pod, next month we pick sweetcorn.
Everything has its season.



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