‘Heavens keep the newborn infant from starblasting and moonblasting, from epilepsy, marasmus, and the devil!’
When I’m lying, listening to the traffic of the flightpath,
the planes going over sound less like dragons
and more like whalesong, or a collie left alone
and I can almost tune out the cackling and hissing
from the lace-crammed room beneath my attic.
I can almost forget I have a duty
to keep it needing me. To give up my walls.
I can walk relieved of my rucksack of rocks.
It wakes. Such tiny feet. Such cuckoo greed.
Who designed this faulty apparatus?
If a cat behaved this way it would be slept.
If I – I know you had a hand in this.
You made it helpless and reminiscent
of me in photos I don’t remember posing for.
You have driven me to subtle books.
This spell, right here: Be mouthless,
ammonite, a subtle fixture. Is this
a pillow I see before me?
DUSK IS BROKEN
(based on Dusk by Saki)
dusk had fallen
heavily over the scene, dusk mitigated by some faint moonlight
There was a wide emptiness
scarcely to be
the defeated. Men and women, who had fought
the curious, came forth
So bitter a thing
The wanderers in the dusk
a pleasure-ground that had emptied
bat-fashion, taking their pleasure
A blazing, many-tiered
stretch of windows
a carnation buttonhole
vanished slowly into the shadows
an elderly gentleman passed muster
in the half-light
the dark stretches between the lamp-lights.
that forlorn orchestra to whose piping no one dances
he was one of the
I don’t wonder either; the relief
I must have lost it
the one convincing touch
flitted away down the path
with all the solicitude of the chemist’s counter
that reflection scudding along the
a sovereign witness
a youthful figure in a light overcoat
KIRSTEN IRVING is one of the two editors behind Sidekick Books, and works as a freelance copywriter in London. Her poetry and short stories have been shortlisted for the Bridport prize, and her collection, Never Never Never Come Back, is available from Salt. She is currently working on an ultraviolent poetry show and a steampunk novel.