The Cut of his Jib


He meets a woman
the general
image of his florid dreams.
Flexing his biceps he feels the sleeves
of his long-suffering shirt
squeeze. Somewhere between elbow
and armpit a punished seam
gives up the ghost.
Shoulders bulge, muscles
swell his chest, threatening
to burst his buttons.

He preens, his regiment of
all-the-better-to-eat-you-with teeth
standing neatly to attention.
I’m built
to protect myself, he says,
should someone come to shoot me dead,
I need no bullet-proof vest;
I’ll disarm them with a flicking blow.
I’ll take the life of anyone who tries
to cut me with a sword or knife.
You’ll be safe with me,
and I will show you all the ways I know –
all the sweet techniques that go –
a homecoming queen.

She surveys the stranger,
taking in
his toned build,
his suntanned skin,
his hair the hue of a fox’s
mane, every strand contrived to
look stylishly out of place, the ice-
blue eyes that gaze, the handsome
face, chiselled in such a way…
the cut
of his jib.

Get outa’ my way, she coldly cries,
killing him with her scimitar eyes.

©Jane Paterson Basil


27 thoughts on “The Cut of his Jib

    1. I need to learn not to eat risotto while reading messages from you. I’d just taken a mouthful when that bit about crossing your tees and dotting your eyes made me laugh out loud, with the obvious result… 😉 🙂 😀

      BTW sorry I seem to have been ignoring you – I’ve been internetless for the past week xx


                1. When my mum died, my four siblings and I got together to arrange the funeral. The five of us had not been alone together for since we were in our teens or early twenties. Nothing between us had changed – we all bounced off each other in the same old way. The individual alliances and enmities were the same. Even the jokes and our various responses to them followed a similar pattern; I could predict almost every response, and it mad me feel as if mum was in the kitchen, cooking our supper. Laughter helped to carry us through that horrendous time. That’s what I remember the most.


                  1. Yes I relate to your feelings so well, it was our first Xmas without our parents, and we had it in the family home, around the same old table sitting in the same old chairs. Yes we laughed and joked, remembering all the funny things that our mum and dad used to get up to, it was a funny empty feeling without them there, but we laughed, and smiled, we knew they wouldn’t want it any other way xx

                    Liked by 1 person

        1. I started off with plenty of appreciation, but I was new, so it was all unfamiliar territory to be explored… 🙂 Maybe it’s only when things become jaded that we need the pain to give us a benchmark o work from 😉


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