POEMS

they line her route

First published in Beyond Words, Artwork by Kristen Sanchez
they line her route

leaning against shop windows
smoking in porches and doorways
flipping coins and following
her passage with cartoon eyes
free-falling into step beside her
giggling banal invitations
into her right ear left shoulder
stomach tight and churning
she click-clicks high-stepping
low acceleration knowing
haste will goad the hunters
down the one-track road
where they come together
to trip her into rough
grass old beer cans bottles
lacy rags broken shoes

Botticelli’s Birth of Venus
Image courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library, who paired it with this poem, on their blog
swingtime for venus

if the wind rises and the waves
swell behind you
barely balanced on a shell
no sails or oars or blankets
no outboard motor or cups of cocoa
no life-jackets or rubber wings
shelter is only your hair and hands
desire gives the wind
reason to blow you onshore
with only a tease of cover
more like the movement
of a matador’s cloak
distracting you into the future
where not all rain falls as petals

First published by Alba Poetry Journal





My aunt lit a cigarette
 
She said: Get me out of here,
I can’t fit inside my own home,
Let’s go to the middle of the ocean.
Out there, surrounded by the deep
blue, the seabed shallows up
into a circle of turquoise.
We can walk around the edge
of the depths, lie on our backs
soak in the colours,
 
My aunt lit a cigarette and haggled
with the boatman who put-putted
us past curious turtles and confetti
beneath the ripples. We were alone,
three people mid-ocean, seabirds, fish.
The boat idled and I slid into liquid sky,
floated to the edge and swam beyond it.
 
Still in the boat, my aunt lit a cigarette.
Did you know your grandmother shot a man? 
She was threatened by a mob. It was hushed up.
Casually she flicked her ash over
the bombshell and I climbed back into the boat.
 
When we left, the boatman gave me a conch.
It sits in my gardenstill,
the delicate pink interior dulled
by the calc of London rain.

First published in The Blue Nib