Sarah Howe

•   November 19 2015 // poetry   •

A new poem


Pronouns are for Slackers

               This morning’s autocorrect function flipped
               my fat-fingered vision into visor.
I have taken to eating and sleeping

               in a different room from myself. Sometimes
               I could do with a helmet. She gave him
a glass clock as an expression of love

               but really it was a present for her.
               You could hear the affection frittering
away. Prepositions are for orphans.

               It could be said all we need to survive
               is the wet beading on its pillowy
surfaces, the salt-rose. Her fortitude

               in briny air a lesson to those prone
               to opening doors and leaving them that way.
All those visible cogs going about their

               intestinal churn, a Copernican
               universe – as insular. Adverbs are
for undinists. Over there seems somehow

               further off these days. The dawn is a leash
               round a prisoner’s neck. Who is holding
the end? More wars than Kodak reels. Recall

               how its glossy slink would spool and spool and
               fail to catch? Still we don’t recognize words
are the last things we should put in our mouths.

               Nouns are for bourgeois materialists.
               First place salt on the tongue. Then use the thread
to stitch up the lips. What to do with the

               cherries? Its too-loud tick kept us awake.
               I had to move it to the next-door room.
Then the next. Then lag it at night like a

               talkative bird. The heart is a zeppelin,
               tethered and leaking. How can we help but
scoff? People with glass clocks shouldn’t row boats.



Sarah Howe is a Hong Kong-born British poet, academic and editor. Her first collection of poems, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus), has been shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize.