“Summit Negotiations” by Stephen Kingsnorth

At the cake bazaar,
annual in the village hall —
Mrs Baker’s acid voice —
I stall to scan those sweetmeat plates.

The granulated cog biscuits,
as if surfaced breeze-swept snow,
fawn-mellow, flat,
centre-nippled, cherry-topped;
the scarlet shine thieves the eye,
stirs amylase from frenulum
to a painful point.

Without word, a finger point
tells Busty Baker what I want.
Only one? threat by voice and more,
clear accusatory tone,
insult when a dozen more,
pique, that her mountain not
scaled for more.

But base camp built of my cookie choice —
the tawny tone hints more mature —
Sherpa Baker stares, ice-pick tongs,
a moment carabiner caught,
feathered felt now helmet,
crampons, impasse,
first to withdraw?

Though Baker’s pride, my will-battle wins,
crevasse spanned with frost-bite grace,
wool wrapped cleavage to the fore,
she crevices her finger nails,
palming the peak, protect
from avalanche, and
bitter-sweet presents, almost
on bended knee,
my ruby ring.




Stephen Kingsnorth, (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted by a dozen on-line poetry sites, including Sparks of Calliope, Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, The Dawntreader, and Foxtrot Uniform. You can find more of his poetry at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/.

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