Column 18

I love the way that this poem creates intrigue out of the unlikely subject of cricket, using ordinary but at the same time rich language that sent me to the encyclopedia and dictionary at several points. It’s from Anas Hassan’s Eyewear Publishing pamphlet ‘Bibi, are you living?’.

Baked Alaska

O the flesh is hot but the heart is cold, you’ll be alone when you are old, his favourite country song – on repeat – is being piped through the palace.

– Matthea Harvey

In the sizzling summer of ’76 I fell in love,
imitating Master Blaster’s Antiguan swagger
and the icy violence of Whispering Death
in the barren gasholder’s shadow.

I was munching on sweet green apples,
cooling myself under a swaying hose,
when you enticed me to hot flesh and cold hearts
in the sweltering heat of Orange Pekoe.

I know I’ll never find my way to Eden Gardens now,
but one unmelted dream of mine remains unchanged –
to hunt down a Baked Alaska
that’s worthy of its name.

Used with kind permission of Anas Hassan and Eyewear Publishing.

Author’s note: This poem originally appeared in Snakeskin in July 2016. “Hot flesh and cold hearts” is a reference to a line in Matthea Harvey’s poem ‘Baked Alaska – A Theory Of’.