I didn’t know I could hate butter.
Cold, hard butter that rips dry toast
not because somebody put it in the fridge
but because it’s been left on the counter
in a house with no central heat.
I didn’t know I could hate tea.
As it stares at me half-drunk with its dishwater pallor
languishing in the dregs of frumpy conversation,
reeking of centuries of ritual and tradition
making me feel new-world, nouveau-riche
and longing for a drive-thru coffee.
I didn’t know I could hate bath towels.
The sight of their sodden heaviness
hanging in the bathroom
growing only more damp in the cold, wet air
till they smell of poverty
I didn’t know I could hate blue exit signs on the highway.
Not only because they are not green
and require me to exit on the left
but because they lead
to all the wrong places.
Heather Tibshraeny is an American by birth, South African by marriage, has lived in Cape Town for the past nine years. She’s been published in Carapace and a collection with Finuala Dowling, Difficult to Explain.