Our Empty Shelves. A poem by Paul Brookes

This Saturday morning in the shop
a glut of emptiness.

Labels like headstones
advertise what is missing

We wait on the delivery.
It is late.

No Sugar, pasta, flour.
We apologise to customers,

some in decorator’s facemasks.
Others wear ordinary gloves, mouth covered

by handkerchiefs like bandits
in childhood cowboy and Indian films.

Once delivery arrives
a joy to fill the spaces.

Often in the same motion,
customers take what you have just placed.


Paul Brookes is a shop asst. His chapbooks include The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019). He edits The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.

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