Skip to main content
Spiegeloog 420: TabooWords to Start

Words to Start: Salome by Carol Ann Duffy

By September 7, 2022December 6th, 2022No Comments

I’d done it before 

(and doubtless I’ll do it again, 

sooner or later)

woke up with a head on the pillow beside me – whose? –

what did it matter?

Good-looking, of course, dark hair, rather matted;

the reddish beard several shades lighter;

with very deep lines around the eyes,

from pain, I’d guess, maybe laughter;

and a beautiful crimson mouth that obviously knew

how to flatter…

which I kissed…

Colder than pewter.

Strange. What was his name? Peter?


Simon? Andrew? John? I knew I’d feel better

for tea, dry toast, no butter,

so rang for the maid.

And, indeed, her innocent clatter

of cups and plates,

her clearing of clutter,

her regional patter,

were just what I needed –

hungover and wrecked as I was from a night on the batter.


Never again!

I needed to clean up my act,

get fitter,

cut out the booze and the fags and the sex.

Yes. And as for the latter,

it was time to turf out the blighter,

the beater or biter,

who’d come like a lamb to the slaughter

to Salome’s bed.


In the mirror, I saw my eyes glitter.

I flung back the sticky red sheets,

and there, like I said – and ain’t life a bitch –

was his head on a platter.

Spiegeloog Editors

Author Spiegeloog Editors

Spiegeloog editorial staff.

More posts by Spiegeloog Editors