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Two Poems

siphoning

 

habitual catalogue of the day, intro ft.

blossom fallen from a gated

property and crisping on the pavement’s

piss-streaked sun, kicked

out of shape by the advance of

a woman whose feet pass quickly

then recede in the distance

soon followed by a girl whose shoulders

curl a phonetic c as she frowns (at

feet/blossom/pavement)

at which point the narrative corrects

the woman as Mother & the latter

grammar as Disobedient

Daughter, and the world shakes off

its hope of distance to assume a

familiar shape: in which

the blossom becomes fallout

of some unseen conflict & we

the barely treading water, like toothless

children bobbing for apples

& ushering worlds

round their axes

 

 

 

What Genie Got

 

She got it in the chest like the thump of Elijah,

awoke one morning to the trumpet

of her mother, its mouthpiece fused

to the notch above her sternum. All Genie knew

was that she woke up for school, and saw

the duvet rising sharply between her breasts,

its worn-out cotton an ascending minaret

that tugged itself back in reverence, declaring

the terrible instrument in matrilineal splendour.

Genie didn’t touch or caress its tubulation, to

try & still its cries, but as she breathed out slowly the trumpet

started yelling so that cracks began to scale the walls,

each one spawning derivatives as she fought

with the trumpet for air. Genie held her breath

and the artex started raining.

 

The year processed in discord. Genie became adept

at the opposite of breathing & made very little sound

at all. But her mother’s orchestra had other plans:

her gangs of woodwind would heckle from buildings

through menacing throats of gargoyles, while brassy-eyed

buttons of anonymous instruments winked like fish skins

from hedges. They always seemed to meet her

at the importunest of moments: on Saturdays spent working

at hotel wedding functions, when the sudden exhalation

of an untuned celesta might shatter her tray of champagne

flutes; or the time she tried to kiss Serina behind the privacy

of her locker, only to find it filled with cymbals,

stacked like dry-stone making horizontal purdahs

of the sweetly staling air. It was only the one cymbal that slipped

out of line, but Serina backed away, unravelled

by its timbre. Genie was left in the reverberant air,

breathing in the lustful geometry

of lockers; the plasterboard walls of discoloured

posters and fading acne of blu-tack; the fluids that flaked

off sticky-backed textbooks; particles from the pre-fabs

that rose in wet fields and found their way to her through commutes

of corridors, which offered themselves as half-bleached

sacraments, which Genie took in wholly.

 

And the ravens brought [her] bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and

flesh in the evening; and [s]he drank of the brook.



ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR


was awarded first prize in the Poetry Book Society's national student poetry competition 2016. She lives in Scotland.


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