You are here

Playing House

Fred D'Aguair

We collected brown branches

Fallen from coconut palms

Propped them against a tree

For a center post in a tent


You brought a pinch of salt

I grabbed two handfuls of rice

You found a match I found a tin pot

We struck up a fire between stones


Half-filled the pot with water

Brought it to the boil

Added the salt and I licked

Grains stuck to your palm


Dumped in the rice after we

Picked it clean of stalks

Watched the pot though

We knew all about watched pots


And for plates we used dasheen

Leaves and for spoons our

Fingers and we talked with

Our mouths full about children


How many we would have

And the ratio of boys to girls

You wanted more girls

I preferred more boys


And that would have been that

Were it not for the tiredness

After a meal that necessitated

Sleep in our little tent of coconut


Branches and the two of us

Curled up together as we

Imagined we would be

When we grew big and began


All this building of a house

And cooking and planning

For children in earnest

But for now we sleep

From Poetry London, no. 59, Spring 2008