Bleach Breakfast

by Luke Otley

Words like
‘major’
‘disaster’
‘tragedy’
‘terror’
‘change’
and ‘death’

leak like oil
from the paper
in daily doses.

I swallow them obediently
with tablets I’m told
are full of The Goodness Of Nature.
Even the coral is turning white
with the stress.

You cross your knee and read
the article aloud at breakfast,
orange juice ‘Never From Concentrate!’
sits between us on the table-cloth.
On the label an actor in straw hat and dungarees reaches
for an orange and smiles.

I let each word lap over me
like a reassuringly warm wave
and lust for a cheap apocalypse.
I pass you the ‘99% fat-free’ margarine
and stand for work, beak your cheek
in afterthought.

I want the strength
to bring the walls of this jail
down around us,

I want the strength
to live like a rat
in its ruin.