The outside steps to the store room
are only a zigzag mark in brickwork now, rx
and there is no smell of brine
where sausage skins were left to soak.
I walk into the yard.
On the right is the bake-house.
My glasses steamed up on cold days
and I worked through finger smears, drugstore
In the next room
Trevor took the end off his finger in the mincer;
Pop called him a twerp.
The end room is where we boiled hams,
in three great coppers.
The deep-freezers are empty shells,
only hinges in door-frames
where foot-thick doors once hung.
Reg would never have got out
had Pop not gone back after the telephone call.
Almost as cold as New Zealand lamb
Reg didn’t seem graetful,
a string of expletives
as Pop rubbed his hands and shoulders, back and legs.
Reg laughed a funny laugh, then walked home.
‘The alcohol in his blood stream must have saved him’
How did so many beasts fit into this slaughter-house?
I take photographs of rusting hooks,
runnels in the floor,
brambles trailing through a broken window.
There was a scalding tank here,
brim-full of boiling water
where pigs’ heads bounced as I scraped
bristles from shoulders and flanks
leaving flesh as clean and fresh and pink
as a young girls.
My camera flashes and flashes and flashes.
How can walls this thick be bulldozed?
Bank Street Writers