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.