Zoe Mitchell




Nicolas Flamel and the Parisian Housewives

The grocer calls, ‘Madame?’, sees what her eyes
tell him, what sorcery her order implies:
a palimpsest in the marbling of the ham,
a skeleton of magic inside the roast lamb.
He slices his goods on a tombstone, gives rise

to specks of ancient dust, bakes the grit into his pies.
Some want riches, others youth. He can sympathise
and takes away the scales; desire weighs on every gram.
The grocer calls, ‘Madame?’

Fortunes, hemlines and breasts all rise,
hips sway and husbands obey. They scandalise
their neighbours but don’t give a damn –
with the spark of an alchemist, they’ve rekindled la flamme
and blaze down the street, newly galvanised.
The grocer calls, ‘Madame?’


Note: Nicolas Flamel was an alchemist, reported to have discovered the Philosopher’s Stone. His tombstone was discovered in a Parisian grocery, where it had been used as a chopping board.


Zoe Mitchell is a widely-published poet whose work has been featured in a number of magazines including The Rialto, The London Magazine and The Moth. She graduated from the University of Chichester with an MA in Creative Writing and was awarded a Distinction and the Kate Betts Memorial Prize. She is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, examining witches in women’s poetry. In 2018, she was joint winner of the Indigo-First Collection Competition and her first collection, Hag, is due out with Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2019. www.writingbyzoe.com




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