Form and structure

The poem is written in free verse and is separated into four stanzas. There is no regular meter and enjambment is used often to emphasise key words. For instance, in the third and fourth stanzas the gruesome onomatopoeic verbs spitting, gnawing and munching really draw our attention to the greedy way the women devour the details of the break up.

Lochhead often uses punctuation sparsely, yet here the sentences are grammatically correct.

This exactness and technical accuracy creates the idea of control and order about the actions of the woman and there is a sense that her behaviour is cold, calculating and carefully planned.

The break in each stanza helps us to understand the chronology of events. Stanza one focuses on the preparations for the supper and the reason for it.

In stanza two the woman imagines celebrating the end of this relationship by feasting on her ex-lover’s carcass.

Stanza three depicts the women as witches in the act of consumption while in stanza four they are already looking for a new victim.

Lochhead uses all our senses, not just taste, to depict the carnal way the women devour the details of the end of the relationship.

They are compared to scavengers, brutally picking away every last morsel until everything has been consumed, greedily and ferociously. Interestingly, very few details of the unfaithful lover are revealed.