‘The One in Which…’ by Marvin Thompson

The One in Which…

2. The one in which I contemplate The Handmaid’s Tale TV series whilst exiting the cinema’s Art Deco doors

In pick-n-mix dispensers, fudge shines like the 30-year-old scar
on my knee. To reach an anthology with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Anansi,
I tiptoed on a wooden box and wobbled. My slip was bloody.

Like the A-Team with their savage Mohawk and civilised cigars,
bedtimes were a whirl of imagery. That knee-wound night was dark as tar:
Mum read 1984. In dreams, rats still scurry in my belly.

Derys grins against Blackwood’s umbrella-filled noon:
the gloom recalls the Handmaid’s best friend, Moira
the Black sassy sister and murderer.

Is it over-sensitivity to worry about stories that bloom
into ‘truths’ and leave no room
for my children’s ancestors to be their own authors?

Tugging my hand, Derys yells, ‘Doughnuts!’ knowing we’ll pass Greggs.
I want some say in what takes residency
in my kid’s unconscious minds – Black is not mystery,

Darth Vader or death. Haden twirls by a shoe shop: ‘I’ve got Anansi legs!’
I ask them, ‘How about surprise eggs?’
Smiling, they ponder toys with which they’ll tell their own stories.

(extract from an unpublished sequence, The One in Which…)

Born in London to Jamaican parents, Marvin Thompson now lives in mountainous south Wales. A selection of his poetry is published in Primers Volume Two, (Nine Arches Press) and he has work in a number of literary journals, including Poetry Review, Stand, Poetry Wales and Long Poem. He has also had work shortlisted for the forthcoming anthology, Filigree (Peepal Tree Press). Hear Marvin Thompson read at Drawing Projects UK, Trowbridge, on Saturday 30 September. Twitter @MOS_Thompson