Paul Tanner​


these kids are racing each other down the aisles in shopping trollies.
they knock over a couple of mannequins: limbs everywhere.
I ask their mother if she can maybe tell them to stop.
she requests that I sexually vacate.
I’m considering taking her advice
when there’s an almighty CRASH.
we go to aisle 9, where the mayonnaise
display has mysteriously fallen over:
one of the kids is lying on the floor amid white goo and broken glass,
holding his bleeding head while the other three laugh,
jumping up and down on any remaining jars that weren’t smashed.
the mother puts her hands on her hips, slowly breathes in
and calmly and quietly states that she’ll be making a claim.
if you were doing your job, watching kids while their parents
spend their money here, instead of telling me how to raise them –
she states calmly and quietly – then that wouldn’t have happened.
and she slowly breathes out


there’s chickens in Utah that know nothing of this malarkey.
there’s chickens in Glasgow, there’s chickens everywhere
that are raised with more free range than you or I
before they’re eaten
and only by us, never by each other.

I get the mop
I get the dustpan and brush
I get the wet floor sign
I get on my knees
I get glass splinters and the bleach burns
and sore knees

I get jealous of the chicken parts
in the butcher’s case.

About the Author

Paul Tanner has been earning minimum wage, and writing about it, for far too long. His latest collection, Lowest Form, was published by Clair Obscur Press. Paul’s star sign is Libido. His hobbies include pillage and colouring in. He lives in the United Kingdom.