Three Poems | Cecilia Knapp | Granta

Three Poems

Cecilia Knapp


I stare at the carpet
till it’s time to turn the telly on.
I try to find that picture of you
swimming in green water, shaking
the fin of a dolphin.

I consider the salt content of soy sauce,
then throw my lunch
down the stairs, weep
at the way daylight
haloes a lettuce leaf.

I yell at the flat,
grab a fistful of belly on the toilet.

Charlie sends me a photo of her lunch.
Figs, Parma ham. <3
Another friend of mine
is a mother twice over. I can’t even drive.

In the supplement,
Jenny the exec, from Highbury,
is up at four-thirty a.m.,
packs the kids’ lunches, tennis
then smoothie.

I’m staring at the carpet.

I Google female scuba stars
who’ve touched the deepest parts of the ocean,

tuck myself into the TV
to binge on murdered women.






OK, you’re a guilty pig,
but walk down Broadway Market
with a £9 drink in a plastic cup.
Forget your dad working raw,
the insides of hospitals, it’s fine,
you’re one of these people now.
Just drift down the market, you deserve
the air-pockety bread.
Admit it, you’re taken in,
you are impossible
with delight, with the scent
of coffee bean. You admire
floor-to-ceiling windows, gaze
at the drowsy girl
in high-waisted trousers,
a rust shirt, slim wrists.
Give up trying to hate it,
you’re a rotten peach,
aren’t you,
clinging to its stone.
This isn’t about how
you couldn’t afford to save
your brother’s life,
Dad’s roll-out bed.
Brush the crumbs from your cashmere
girl, what’s the point of feeling bad
all the time? Get soaked with it,
have the salted butter, the altar.
You are present,
return to the breath,
to the podcast.
You will birth babies
so quick you’ll shock the midwife.
You can be tight as a drum
with the right classes,
a privately-educated husband
who will grill meat.
You can have the small violet cakes,
the quiet terror
of the high-rise looming
at the bottom of your garden.





The bees are on the roof

in their custom-made hives.
A new coffee machine
the size of a small head.
Rubbish smoulders on the lawns.
The smoke comes blowsy
and smelling
of burnt hair.
Chaos, sure,
but we’re not running yet.
Men still get angry
when they’re hungry.
Or when you’ve pushed them.
If you dress it all up
in a bad wig, the rot
don’t stink.
What can I tell you?
I’m a sucker for it all.
A glutinous daughter.
Nodding my head like
isn’t it terrible?
Imagine I’m God for once:
bless my pillowy self,
all its baggy lack.
Night falls in navy curtains.
Oh, to sleep,
to sleep like a man.

Image © Naomi King

This is an extract from Peach Pig by Cecilia Knapp, published by Corsair.

Cecilia Knapp

Cecilia Knapp is a poet and novelist and the Young People’s Laureate for London 2020/2021. She was shortlisted for the 2022 Forward prize for best single poem. She is the winner of the 2021 Ruth Rendell award and has been shortlisted for both the Rebecca Swift Women's Prize and the Outspoken Poetry Prize. She curated the anthology Everything is Going to be Alright: Poems for When you Really Need Them, published by Trapeze in 2021. Her debut novel Little Boxes is published by The Borough Press.

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