on retraining.

Writer in Training
Wendy Pratt
After the Conservative advertising campaign
showing a ballerina and the slogan: Fatima’s next job
could be in cyber. (She just doesn’t know it yet.)
Rethink, reskill, reboot. 
First I trained
as a kitchen assistant.
I washed pots until they shone
like the sun on a Hebridean loch.
Then I trained as a secretary.
I carried the words of others
on telephone lines, flattened by fax machines,
until they spilled through my hands
like spilt tea.
Next I trained as a shop assistant,
a shop manager, gathering the words 
of customers and staff in a bag at my waist,
picking the gilled heads of conversations
like so many mushrooms.
Then I trained as a factory worker,
a cake decorator, a meringue aficionado, 
and that job made me fat from gorging 
on the lost stories of others.
Then I fell into my training
as a silk screen printer. I printed words
onto binders, I sheltered in the dark
and exposed words to a light so bright
I couldn’t bear to look at it.
After that I trained as a microbiologist,
I took those long Latin names 
and swallowed them into myself.
Then I pulled those same words out
of my stomach on a chain the size 
and shape of a blackbird’s song, 
I pulled them like fish from a lake,
pulled those words up, like bones
from a grave, and settled myself
to my desk, my notebook, my pen. 

4 thoughts on “on retraining.

  1. Elizabeth Sandie

    Brilliant,Wendy, and moving. The only way to retrain ourselves to endureall this shit they come out with. They haven’t a clueabout passion for things that matter. And how long it takes to be able to do it. Your various apprenticeships have struck gold. Elizabeth xx


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