Fish from Vickerstaff's

Christmas Eve. The delivery bays at the Bull Ring,
and we're picking fish from Vickerstaff's.
Past the butcher's stalls, turkeys and geese swinging,
and on to Vickerstaff's to collect the carp.
Then a crate of apples, a crate of oranges,
a crate of mandarins and back to the van.
At home, setting the carp in jelly,
and stretching the pastry thin for pierogi,
and taking the twist of paper out of the bottle.
The kitchen hot and steamy and too crowded,
excitement and expectation mixed with things thrown and shouting,
the percolator bubbling on the sideboard.
Out in the back passage the mandarins cold to the touch,
taking one, two, pulling the peel off,
citrussy smells on my fingertips.