A perfect boat of gravy,
A tender slice of lamb,
Crispy green vegetables,
Potatoes straight from the pan.


Strawberries, fresh and red,
Custard, thick and yellow,
Hundreds and thousands, coloured bright,
A dessert, soft and mellow.


Chips soggy with vinegar,
Fish with golden batter,
Slightly acrid ketchup-
Does it really matter?


But then she's gone, and food is bad,
He gives cold beans from the can,
Limp white bread and pale butter,
Scarlet, sour jam.


Undercooked rice with a jar of curry,
A slick of sour cream,
Stains my school shirt orange,
Dripping straight to the seam.


The cupboards empty and I'm alone,
Nothing left to eat,
His note, 'I'm sorry, it's too much.'
I crumple in my seat.


Mrs Spanner, 'Call me Hannah'
Buys a soft sponge cake,
But the icing is sour and languid,
'Oh, for goodness sake!'


"Why won't you eat your dinner?
I know I'm not your mum!
You'll sit here and you'll eat
until that plate is done!"


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