January 2021 Winner

Mrs Robinson

Ellie Piddington

 

In his den

she smokes two of his Havana cigars

onto the run,

cracks open a bottle of Bourbon,

leaves the Pearsons’ Alsatian

thrusting at the cushions.

 

‘Please,’ she’d said to Benjamin.

‘Please,’ she’d said again.

 

Arms folded firmly across her chest

standing in the tall grasses,

like Hopper’s Cape Cod Evening.

 

Before she’d started to miss classes

Cape Cod was the last she’d studied,

Elaine, a swirl of colour in her belly.

 

She remembered looking at the painting

with scornful eyes and smiling.

 

Pushing her mouth, teeth bared

against the tendons of his neck,

tearing at his hair.

 

Every morning

she puts up her hair with bobby pins,

makes up her face.

Panties, bra, girdle, stockings, slip,

dress, zipper running down her backbone,

a gold pin on her breast.

 

Scraping fingernails across her chest.

Pressing him with trembling arms against her breasts.

 

Fixes breakfast for Mr Robinson

whilst he reads the paper with grey fingertips

she hasn’t felt since New Year’s Eve,

counting down ‘til it was done.

Then once, on his birthday,

when he was drunk.

 

Sometimes in the afternoons,

she sits in the sun-porch,

smoking, drinking Martinis,

looking out the panels of glass

as the backyard grows dark.

 

Her daughter should know these things.