LAWRENCE PETTENER

Poet, Writer

Seventy Percent

With supermarket bogof deals,
you build up a little collection.
The spines, a hundred grammes thin,
stand out on your shelf, slim volumes of poetry

for the young tongue to get itself around.
Some look good and impress friends; others
are for digesting whole. This one, in black
and white packaging and foil glindt,

is the best consistency your callow tongue
has brailled. Much thicker than the others,
one seems encyclopedic; it’s a box
of them, a chocolate anthology:

the Collected, or perhaps the Selected.
They’re not always predictable, though
the white ones will be as controversial
as a sudden claim of authorship.

While its purity may be noted and valued,
when you eat it alone the whole lot will slip down,
bittersweet as good poetry. The taste
for bitterness comes later on in life.