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The Easel

Sharon Olds

‘When I build a fire, I feel purposeful.’

The Wife

David Katz

‘Ever notice the change that comes over / your gentle wife the minute she sets / foot in a grocery store?’

Après

Jamie McKendrick

‘greener / for an alien crop of hogweed higher / than us’

A Spell For Going Safely Forth By Day

Jynne Martin

‘The hunter pushes a bullet beneath his tongue to fix his aim, / or is it to stave off his thirst?

How Long is the Coast of Britain?

Jynne Martin

‘It is the hour for farewells. It is the hour.’

Biographical Detail

Ángel González Muñiz

‘The cockroaches in my house complain because I read at night’.

I had wondered about the signs of burning

John Kinsella

‘None of it made sense. The house shows / no signs – the old core of the house as it is now – / of fire, of giving up the ghost.’

The Burning of the Rocks

John Kinsella

‘What locked-away / state of unawareness, other life form, / brings desire to combust / out of rock exposed to flame’

The Common Cold

Laura Kasischke

‘But here we are again, you and I, the / two of us, tangled / up and biological.’

Dark Night

Ben Okri

‘On a night when my soul was damp / I found in the street a dark lamp. / The moon was cold and green, / The sky had a sinister sheen’

Meeting the psychiatrist’s wife

Lorraine Mariner

‘The psychiatrist’s wife / has a dress the colour / of that bottle of claret / you shouldn’t have drunk / last night.’

Revelations

Ange Mlinko

‘I think of this when raising my eyes / to a filigreed cross in a sanctuary‘’

Fabric

Richard Meier

‘At midnight on our third and final date / I stepped inside her Edwardian conversion / to find a stripped-pine, bookless space.’

Passing Place

Helen Mort

‘Stall here and let the world / go past, the way / the world well might / on heather-coloured days like this,’

All the Good Help

Togara Muzanenhamo

‘He will not understand her fascination / for rain, these summer months of water / that somehow keep the money coming in.’

Dilation

Ben Lerner

‘We need to harness the vaguely erotic disappointment that attends the realization you aren’t being followed.’

Sunday Drive Home

David Masello

‘On the drive down the Taconic, / you sleep, your head sinks then snaps / up when it reaches some reflex angle.’

Ange Mlinko | First Sentence

Ange Mlinko

‘I rediscovered the efficacy of meter (or the ‘contrast between fixity and flux’) when I was stuck in a shark tunnel with my kids and was afraid I was coming down with a panic attack.’

In the village of the mothers

Vénus Khoury-Ghata

‘The wells are kept for the use of the dead who splash the / walls with their silence.’

Blueberries

James Lasdun

‘I’m talking to you old man. / Listen to me as you step inside this garden’

We’ll always have Paris

Richard Meier

‘I’d gone there with my girlfriend of three years, / then left her three days after meeting you.’

Somewhere the Wave

Derek Mahon

‘a voice, not quite a voice, in the sea distance / listening to its own thin cetaceous whistle’

The first resurrection

Laura Kasischke

‘The moth locked up all / winter in the strongbox.’

The Sun in a Box

Caleb Klaces

‘When I was younger I drafted a memory. / I drew a rectangle on a piece of card / and called it a computer.’

Eel Tail

Alice Oswald

‘untranslatable hissed interruptions / unspeakable wide chapped lips’

Pyjamas

Rodney Koeneke

‘Lover, does it matter / how the river spends its glitter’

sleeping far from home

Soledad Marambio

‘They told her a thrush came into the house / and fell asleep by the TV.’

From the Flood Plain

Jamie McKendrick

‘No flood as parched as this’

Never did amount to anything

Dorothea Lasky

‘Hi there, dear sister, I’m sad / But here to tell you / That you never did amount to anything’

Two Poems

Ivan Landzhev

‘My chess teacher / used to tell me: / ‘Play your own game.’’

Oak

Jamie McKendrick

‘When my father saw an advert in the Echo / for a big house at a peppercorn rent / he rang.’

Linked

Ruth Ozeki

‘old poems, like polished stones, / tumbled words to break my teeth on.’

Requiem

Jill Osier

‘I watch her help, / gathering the leaves to her like love, / hiding herself.’