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Apple Pie in Pizzaland

Maura Dooley

We are apologising to one another

for our shynesses. The waitress apologises

for the lack of sultanas (not like the picture,

she says). I still probe between slices of

apple as if I expect to find something other than

air. You spin the menu and pleat the paper napkin,

our cutlery scrapes eloquently enough.


On the train here a Canadian told me how

his province holds a lake the size of England.

I imagine you and I and Pizzaland, the green tables,

Doncaster, the fields, motorways, castles and fiats,

churches, factories, corner shops, pylons, Hinkley Point,

Lands End and all of us dropped

in this huge lake, plop.


Years later, new people will stroll on

the banks, remarking how in drought

you might see the top of Centrepoint

and in the strange stillness hear the ghostly

ring and clatter of Pizzaland forks on plates.


From The North No 4 (1988).