Black Friday came and went with a bombardment of spam. They haven’t done the Christmas tree and the foil. They haven’t put up the lights but the lights are shining on the canal. The canal is silky in winter lights. They heat up a potato. Flower it with corn and cream and chunks of tuna. All warm in the belly sez Mina. What did you do with my stockings asks Jean. Look under the bed sez Mina. They look under the bed but there is noooo stocking. There is something else under the bed. But they can’t see it. There are two red eyes looking back at them. Mina layers herself in colourful scarfs. Flag prayers to the wind. Jean pulls up her black hoody. You have to protect your face from the wind sez Mina. The cold wind can damage the skin’s barrier. They cream their faces and hands and back and thighs. Ready sez Jean. Ready sez Mina. They go for a walk along the Christmas canal. The sign before the tunnel sez please honk before entering. They wait for a honk but there are no honks. It is a quiet night in London. When they pass through the tunnel Jean unwraps the tin foil for the Christmas Cake. The traditional Christmas cake pulls out all the stops. The traditional Christmas cake is greased and stuffed with brandy. It is very heavy. They sit down in the tunnel. There is something in the water. There is a large dent in the silky water. The large dent gets bigger and bigger. A spiked tail whips across the water. They keep eating Christmas cake while watching the lights on the Christmas canal. The Christmas cake is heady. It makes the blood swim easily. All warm in the belly sez Mina. They scrub you clean in the bathhouse sez Mina. All that dead skin sez Jean. It just flakes away. The finest moment in the bathhouse sez Mina is right before plunging into the water. Three white seagulls cross each other in the glowing white sky. Diving darting and circling. There is a yellow light inside the heart. Pull the string. Turn on the light. There are many creatures but today is mostly for the birds.
Marcus Slease was born in Portadown, N.Ireland. They are the author of eight books from micro presses. Most recently Rides from Bart Press and Mu (dream) So (window) from Poor Claudia. Their poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, featured in Best British Poetry 2015, translated into Polish and Danish, and has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies in the U.K., U.S., Norway, and Poland including: BOAAT,Helikopter, Elewator, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poetry Wales, and Tin House. Currently, they live in the docklands of East London. Visit them online at: www.marcusslease.weebly.com and on twitter: @postpran