A Little Bit of Poland in Sudbury Hill

by Victoria Fletcher

Dear Lord, I thank you for the polski skleps –
the strip-lights’ thrum above the counters
thick with meat that prune-faced women slap
as they walk past; fondle the tomatoes
ripe, round, earth-dusty in their plastic crates;
eye up the bargains, the joyous promotions –
Promocja! Oferta! One-time special discount rates! –
and go through the housewife-gone-shopping motions:
the wheedle, the barter, demand and bark
for a pound off here, a bit more there
and survey the brands – Łaciate, Olewnik and Tymbark –
brands you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere,
slug-pickles swimming in emerald brine, treasures
each bringing joy beyond Englishmen’s measure.