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Stella Wulf

The Value of Pie

Her day begins with a workout, running behind time, rounding-up kids. She drops them at the school gates, watches them scatter like small change, precious currency of a spent passion, gifts from the windfall days of shares, and stock promises. She circles the square past the butchers, the bakers, banks of money-rakers, slick high-rise offices—a parallel universe of equal degrees, until their multiplying reduced her inclinations. She reverses into a space—switches off.

It’s a simple triangulation of supermarket, post office, part-time job, then back to base to clean- up— unwashed dishes, unmade beds, the grubby accumulation of laundry.

She reckons from lengthening shadows it’s time to fraction butter, balance flour. She’d like to rest for half an hour but the mensuration of a woman’s guilt is infinite. Instead, she pares helices from the circumference of apples, with the knowledge that pie transcends. The kids clatter in, make their deposits, roll away into their own corners.

Today is their tenth anniversary. He stops by the petrol station, picks up a bunch of flowers. He has always been her perfect foil. He takes the square route home, opens the door on the confection of his life, breathes-in the scrumped orchard of his youth, the crimped edge of continuity. He works hard to earn his crust, counts on her to nurture his well-being, gives her credit for her artistry. He was always the clever one. Women are irrational, he laughs—numbers are beyond their grasp. She pictures them running away, an infinity of binary, light years of points.

She sets the pie on the table next to the vase of flowers—picks up the knife. She knows her place—it’s here, in the core of his need. She is a good wife, her pastry is to die for. The point goes in, dead centre. Section by divine golden section she divides—calculates. Is it going to be enough?

Stella’s poems are widely published and appear in several anthologies including, The Very Best of 52, three drops, Clear Poetry, NILVX A Book Of Magic, and #MeToo. Her pamphlet, After Eden, was published by 4word in May 2018. She has an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University.