Dream sequence

‘Just do me a favour,’ he said
‘Check over my figures –
Something just won’t add up.’
I fix it
in three hours
and press my lips together.
My smile is as convincing as his
Toilet-bowl white teeth
Mashing together
Falling over his tongue
As he races to affix it to
A board member’s behind.

Is who I am now
It’s embedded in my genes
Maybe if I tried
I could read this report in Latin
But instead I make notes in shorthand
A revered ancient language.

‘Whose report is this?’ ejaculates Mr Board.
A nervous brown tongue flicks over
Those toilet-bowl teeth
I am silent.
‘It’s mine,’ he says.
Mr Board turns to me –
‘Just do me a favour’
‘Get that in the notes,’ he says.
I press my lips together.

In the doctor’s surgery
My lips are parted
For the third time this month
In his endless quest to fix my insides
By gently chipping away at them.
I hand him the chisel,
but he looks up, annoyed.
‘Just do me a favour,’ he says
‘And try to relax.’

At home
I try to relax
but the phone keeps ringing.
My mother is calling
to check that I still cook her recipes.
He asks: ‘do we know what we are having for tea?’
We do not.
He comes behind me
and links his arms around my waist
face in my hair.
He says
‘Just do me a favour.’

Meg Russell