‘Catastrophe’ by Rowena Knight


We heard the heart-stopping
leonine groan during our morning tea-break.
As Christine checked Google News
the windows smithereened and Ginger Nuts

hammered the office, knocking off desks
and cracking screens. An infinity of biscuits poured
through hallways, blocking entrances and fire exits.
The receptionist’s desk was lost to an avalanche

of NICE biscuits, the phone’s ring smothered
by glittering snow. She’s eating her way through
to the mouthpiece. Meanwhile,
Alison’s building a fort in the stationery cupboard,

carefully glueing bricks of shortbread together.
She won’t respond to questions or offers of tea.
The Director’s office is waist-deep in Party Rings,
a ball-pit of circus-coloured treats.

Peer through the dusty window to see her
on her back, arms and legs waving crunchily
as she carves an angel in the crumbs.
Aneesa is furiously counting each biscuit variety

and entering the totals into a spreadsheet.
The fig rolls are particularly out of control,
she declares before digging in.
Gemma is crouched under her desk

munching slowly through the chocolate Bourbons,
her face iced with tears.
The photocopier’s stuffed with Jammy Dodgers.
Its orange warning light bleats insistently

but we can hardly hear it for the steady chomp,
the delicious creak of floodgates opening.
Rowena Knight grew up in New Zealand and lives in Bristol. Her poems have appeared in Under the Radar, Butcher’s Dog, Magma, The Rialto, and The Emma Press Anthology of Love. Her first pamphlet, All the Footprints I Left Were Red, was published by Valley Press in 2016. Twitter @purple_feminist