UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Ordering Genes by Helen Oswald

We are what our grandparents ate.
Their choices from the cold store ordered my genes
so that a grapefruit dissected with the proper tool
and eaten by my grandma on the eve of war
accounts for this bitterness I sometimes feel.

And maybe that extra cow’s-lick of butter
churned from grandpa’s Irish herd,
scooped up on his initialled silver blade
passed down to my own cutlery drawer,
has marked me too; my slick, emollient tongue.

I have no children of my own
but today I select with care: mussels in their shells,
unscrubbed; hake, the deep sea gleam
still polished in its eye; tomatoes not yet ripe,
their stubborn grip on the vine.