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THREE POEMS

 

First winter in Iceland

 

 

Some mornings we’re woken by the sound

of our neighbour sneezing. I raise the blinds

and drink the night-dulled water. Half a pizza

is sleeping in an open box in the carpark,

topped with shimmering slices of rain.

The name sprayed on the wall of the bakery

is my stepdad’s, but it seems so unlike him

to assemble his ashes back into a body

and be ready to start over. A map in the window

explains they are moving to a red circle

containing a bakery from the future.

The rim of this glass tastes of both our mouths.

In the shower I sing guitar solos, and sometimes

you come in to brush your teeth, and I feel

love. A woman is brushing her teeth and

is my wife, I think. Because sometimes it is hard

to say out loud the thing you absolutely feel.

Then two ambulances pass each other

heading opposite ways, and the morning is lost.

 

 

 

 

 

With our bodies and our promises

 

 

You were in the bath, give or take.

Singing, ‘a single sip of coffee

and my whole voicebox goes up in flames’

to the tune of Silent Night.

 

Outside, as it were:

amazingly real-sounding rain.

A drizzle so regular

you could picture the shapes of the things

it was falling on.

 

One thousand years passed.

 

O boy, those fingertips.

When you brought them together

they made a little whoosh

like sealing tupperware

or what I thought it must be like

to open an airlock on a space station.

‘Welcome home, stranger,’ we sang,

to the tune of  ‘welcome home,

stranger, we sang.’

 

 

 

Lemon ode

 

 

This is

how yellow feels

between your fingertips.

Like a hard rain drop, or a soft

star. Like a stone with its moss on

the inside. Throbbing, silent, actual.

If  thoughts are the eroticization of

consciousness, then lemons are the

eroticization of sunlight. Their

pips scour the dark

like owls.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is poetry editor at Partus Press and co-editor of the journals Pain and Oxford Poetry. Former managing editor at Carcanet Press and deputy editor of PN Reviewhe won the 2019 Charles Causley Prize, placed second in the 2020 Bridport Prize, and placed third in the 2019 TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize.

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