Two Poems




at the age you are now your father’s body

had built a nest for an angel


you    key stage two    couldn’t place why

he coughed wingbeats    cried shameless


the year wisemen saw the stowaway

photobomber in a radio wave


today   tapping forty   your neck convexes

you bookmark testaments


nothing makes sense like a toddler walking around

with your face hurling a sippy cup at the wall


this summer we’re home braising our skirting boards

and the bees are brave


buzzing thickets comfort crushed shale into shade

and you run to remember not all angels are hereditary


in one version god drops a leaf
and seven billion eyes read your name


forty days later a test card


this summer we cling to our tvs like gastropods on a rock
the land before time​ washes up on netflix


little foot’s mum is dead like simba’s dad is dead like
bambi’s mum is dead like bastian’s mum is dead


if this is how we level up to protagonist
you’d rather swim in the shadow of a demiurge


you swing your daughter dizzy in the garden

to remember not all childhoods are hereditary


at the age you first met memory
she spies her shadow   takes it everywhere


but watches mama dinosaur die dry eyed

while you break on the black friday couch


four thousand wings trying you on for size

wonder why your kid’s hypothetical loss stings


sharper than your lived one

you ask your mother


she says when the angel came she couldn’t look

directly at your grief   a wooden doll inside hers


you say kids are resilient   you were ok   she says

you weren’t though   were you





it won’t matter if the water

is hot or cold

it won’t matter about the plastic

tub for the placenta

or which pyjamas
when you lie on a floor

next to the lift


splash rocky down corridors



contraction a red

sun setting over and

in you


rise out of water

his eyes catching you

falling into the room

when she swells

into the water


a tree

splitting to give way

to lightning


her head like god


a rock a planet a red sun

rising blood

won’t matter


frog slither neck

and shoulders

and he in the sun all kneeling
your hands full of someone
slick minute


when she comes

you won’t remember if she cried


someone is here


look at the day


is a poet, editor and freelance writer from London. She’s the author of And They Are Covered in Gold Light (Bad Betty Press, 2019) and Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads (flipped eye, 2015), each chosen as a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice. She won the 2019 Verve Poetry Prize. She’s written for BBC Radio 4, and featured on The Last Dinosaur track, ‘In The Belly of a Whale’. She runs indie publisher, Bad Betty Press.



October 2012

Saint Anthony the Hermit Tortured by Devils

Stephen Devereux


October 2012

  Sassetta has him feeling no pain, comfortable even, Yet stiffly dignified at an odd angle like the statue...


January 2017


Patrick Cottrell


January 2017

Every morning as I walk to school through the dark blue decrepit world, I feel like I’m coming down...


Issue No. 3

Forkhead Box

Jeremy M. Davies


Issue No. 3

What interests me most is that Schaumann, the state executioner, bred mice. In his spare time. Sirens, ozone, exhaust...


Get our newsletter


* indicates required