Elevenses

Squeezed awkwardly between the round completeness
of 10 and factored convenience of 12,
11 is the odd one out. We don’t have
11 fingers or toes; we never buy
11 rolls, or eggs, or long-stemmed roses
for our lover. In binary notation
its digits become the three of us, on our
terrace with coffee and scones in the sunlight
and birdsong of June, while the radio plays 
Test Match Special and 11 extends its
parallel arms towards the unbounded sky.

This is a square poem: there are 11 syllables per line and 11 lines.

It was first published in The Book of Penteract.

Snails

A

thin

slime trail

meanders

over the gravel

to my flowerbeds, where hostas

that I had tended so carefully have been reduced 

to tattered shreds. A robin perches among panicles of lilac as you approach

with buttered scones and coffee. Light slants through leaves, glistens the slime trail silver. Everything contributes to the dazzle of this day – even snails.




This Fibonacci poem was first published in The Fib Review Issue #41

 Containment

The glass, half-full, is cracked. I notice this
when I raise it to my lips and your face 
fractures beyond the rim. Sometimes 

we see what was not there before
or what was always there
but we were looking at the water

not the glass, which slithers from my hands, 
hurtles to the ceiling and explodes.
A thousand splinters glint around my head.

This poem first appeared in the anthology Dark Confessions (ed. Matthew M. C. Smith) Black Bough Poetry 2021.

Blood moon, visible

Who hears hyenas laugh
beneath a wounded moon? We are small,
man, small. Sweet taste of pears
and your absent breath. Let go
of unread books, of souvenirs
from unremembered holidays.
Switch off the news, the flames,
the words. Look to the sky
between the trees; 
windstill and clear.

This poem first appeared in the anthology Dark Confessions (ed. Matthew M. C. Smith) Black Bough Poetry 2021.

Citizen of nowhere

He looked at me across the counter, pen poised above the form, and asked where I was born. We had made good progress up till then. Name, age, gender, marital status, I knew all the answers. But now: where was I born? A silence floated in the ice-white hall and wobbled outwards like a slowly blown bubble. My breath was going nowhere. He asked again – Your place of birth? – and the walls dissolved into sunlight, straggled poinsettia bleeding white, mealies roasted in mopani embers, crack of msasa pods curled beneath my foot. Somewhere in a non-existent country. He was getting impatient, I could see, so I drew my coat a little tighter round my self and scrabbled to release my breath. In my mental fists I held two names, one in the past and one in the present. Which one should I give him? I opened my mouth and offered the name that was on the palm of my tongue.

This poem first appeared in The Stony Thursday Book no.16, Summer 2018, edited by Nessa O’Mahony.