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The Yellow Table
by Alicia Stubbersfield
(pub. 2013)


The Yellow Table Reviews


"The Yellow Table casts an alert eye on the lost and the lonely – the crazy boy pianist, the bright boy who became a drug dealer – in poems jewelled with images that surprise. A statue is someone waking from an anaesthetic; grief is a goldfish 'quivering'. She conjures the times with period detail – that yellow Formica table, a red windcheater, the smell of shoe polish; the dispersals of divorce and breakage, then repair – life opening like a white peony in her own cupped hands, viper's bugloss, like 'splinters of sea, far inland.' It is a humane collection about human vulnerability."

Gillian Clarke

 

The Yellow Table

My mother's defiance against post-war monochrome,
splayed legs sturdy on the lino's primary colours,
four matching yellow chairs made of squashy plastic.
All wipe-clean, mid-century-modern surfaces.

My cousin from America swung back on his chair
until he fell, biting through his lip against the table edge.
My mother and her new friend, Audrey, drank wine and laughed
in the kitchen, sewing mini dresses for Audrey to dance at the Ritz.

The table came with my mother when she moved in with us,
we took it to Cheshire, Yorkshire and, after she died, to Wales.
When we divorced I kept it in my garage, the yellow smudged
from all the kitchens I'd painted, fifty years' general wear and tear.

Now I'm throwing it away. No point imagining eBay auctions
or doing it up. I unscrew four pale wood legs, the extending flaps
from each end and place the top along the skip side,
yellow Formica facing outwards, still gaudy, still doing its best.


(from The Yellow Table)

The Yellow Table

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