Immaterial Report

Allan Lake

I bought 2 tea towels at the supermarket
despite not knowing how they relate to tea.
Pure cotton. Regularly $8 but on sale for $5.
I’d have paid the regular price but here was
luck beyond my wildest. Discontinued line.
Blue and white stripes. A classic blue.
The blue that’s just called ‘blue’
if you ever consult a chart, as I did.
I am not claiming to be a colour expert.
Earlier this morning I washed then dried dishes
with a holey, faded tea towel that my partner
cannot discard or cut up for dust rags.
Has no problem spending $8 on coffee and
fruit toast at Galleon but her extravagance
does not extend to tea towels. Or pyjamas,
now that I think about it. Selective frugality.
I’m going to return home and boldly scissor
that tired tea towel then use a piece to clean
our old car. It’ll be a ‘done thing’, as we say,
by the time she reappears on the ever-so-slightly
altered scene. While she’s at work, I can be bold.
Of course, with her hawk eyes, she’ll spot
new tea towels as soon as she’s in the door – 
I won’t hide or giftwrap them – but I’ll make
coffee and act like nothing’s remarkable.
She will, however, remark, then and later.
She’ll wonder what possessed me to lash out
on tea towels and may connect my splurge
to a kitchen renovation we decided not to do
because it would’ve cost way more than
we thought it might. There’s nothing terribly
wrong with our 1950’s kitchen so new tea
towels, maybe a coat of paint next year.
Almost forgot to mention, I also bought
a packet of 8 hot pink plastic bag seals.
Arf, arf. Handy as and also discounted!
When I was young those had not yet
been invented but there they are now,
in the same aisle as tea towels.
Bill was $7 in total. I’m not sure
why anyone needs to know this.

Allan Lake, a stray from Allover, Canada, now writes poetry in Allover, Australia. Latest chapbook of poems, ‘My Photos of Sicily’, published by Ginninderra Press, 2020. 



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