A poem by Marianne MacRae, based on a man she would observe on the way to work who used to stare intently at girls whilst eating various pieces of fruit.

The pervert breathes in.
He is, after all, human.

The pervert wears neat jerseys over neat ties over neat shirts.
The pervert is a civil servant,
boxed in by bureaucracy
and desperate for a taste of something other
than the thin ham sandwiches his wife makes every morning.

He thinks of her hands,
two pink jellyfish,
undulating across the kitchen counter,
reaching for the butter.
She never spreads it evenly,
the sting of the knife leaving a pattern of pecks and pits
in the centre of the slice,
the edges dry as the stale potpourri
that waves him off and welcomes him home
at the hallway sideboard every day.
Putting her sandwiches in his pervert mouth
leaves him oily and unsatisfied.

I watch the pervert eating an apple,
tearing rouge skin from white flesh
with desperate teeth.
His wedding band flashes like a napkin ring
around his smooth pervert finger,
there to stop his hand unfurling across someone else’s lap.

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