Meat Market, Smithfield,
Wives: one to a phone box,
six in all. Roll up, roll up! says he,
cleaver in hand. Vermillion-framed,
the women preen and curl, thinking this
a pageant, not knowing how their husbands
vend them, laughing, like some cut of beef.
The cleaver whines, the men's teeth
glide, police stand silent by.
When all are gone, the crimson
booths chatter and sigh at
what man has become.
Tania Hershman is the author of two story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), a collection of 56 very short fictions, and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008; commended, 2009 Orange Award for New Writers) . Tania's short stories and poetry are published or forthcoming in, among others, Five Dials, Stinging Fly, Tears in the Fence, PANK magazine, Smokelong Quarterly, the London Magazine, and New Scientist, and on BBC Radio, and she is beginning a PhD in Creative Writing to explore the intersection between fiction and particle physics. www.taniahershman.com