If years from now archaeologists excavate our life together
they’ll uncover a entire culture, a civilisation.
They’ll create a typology of our artifacts, the forks and knives
we selected that year we moved into our third flat,
the curve of them, the weight, the quality.
They’ll reconstruct the chronology of our mug
collection, understand the stratigraphy of our lives,
find the cat and mouse mug my sister gave me when I went off
to university (the only one from a set of eight that’s survived)
next to the cat mug that you won’t throw away
which sits on the kitchen window sill,
handle broken, evidence of a lost era.
All the mugs we bought in pairs, the mismatched plates and bowls
we love. The ones with cracks that we mended and kept.
The expensive gifts we saved for best
at the bottom of the wardrobe, but never used.
When they guess at our culture, will they know about our made up
words, the facial expressions only we can read,
our customs like clockwork, the swift movement of hands,
meeting of eyes, our value systems a meeting of minds,
our rituals and traditions evolving like blossoming fruit trees,
roots reaching back through the years, anchoring me,
the Christmas Eve gammon, Friday ribs, payday takeaway.
Our two anniversaries.
They’ll see the disability equipment, your overflowing shelf of
cookbooks, burgeoning spice rack, all the traces of the ways
you take care of me and then they’ll understand
that we were an ancient warship, a warrior culture,
a battle cry.
Lucy Whitehead‘s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Amethyst Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Broken Spine Artist Collective, Burning House Press, Collective Unrest, Electric Moon Magazine, Ghost City Review, Mookychick Magazine, 3 Moon Magazine, Neon Mariposa Magazine, Parentheses Journal, Pink Plastic House, Pussy Magic, Re-side, and Twist in Time Literary Magazine. She has a BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, and an MA in History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS University of London. She lives by the sea with her husband and cat. You can find her on Twitter @blueirispoetry.