Natalie Shaw – Oh Be Quiet

Another peek at another pamphlet currently at our printer….

oh be quiet


Printer’s Tray

The first tray
I did not know this tray

The second tray
They came from Africa, two babies with them,
a mahogany crocodile, a kist for blankets;
two pairs of shoes dipped in copper.

They kept a set of tiny elephants,
smaller than their babies’ toenails.
There was a plastic crib, bigger,

plastic charms from Christmas crackers,
telephone directories the size of stamps:
these were the things the children looked at.

The third tray
The children got bigger. They lost the elephants
in the carpet, built Weetabix houses for ants,
they sat on the crocodile that lived in the kitchen.

Small as a borrower, the daughter climbed
into the tray on the wall. She ate
stale Parma Violets as big as her head

and danced with electric-haired trolls. Her daddy
laughed at her tiny Silk Cut, her ma
pulled her down by her hair and shook her

until she got so good at hiding
(in amongst charms, between the directories)
she knew she could stay for as long as she liked.


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