one hob
by Gareth Culshaw

The kitchen dustier than it usually was,
everything as still as a photo from years ago.

One hob used, flickering gas light, small pan
for soup or beans. Sometimes spuds

boiled, creating a steam like breath
to keep things moving, chugging away.

Mugs caught on wooden pegs, used for
the occasional visit. His own hand on the end.

His feet the only daily pair to enter the tiled floor
that hid under paper thin carpet. The hum from the

fridge freezer, with electric kettle on top.
Nails and screws in cupboards, waiting for the

day to be used, stubbornly kept, for leaks,
draughts and other wear and tear jobs.

One hob was lit with a match, scratched on the side
of a box. A quick burst of flame showed the

slowness to react. The match whittled away before him
as a black end waited at the end of the light.

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