Sarah Fletcher




after James Brookes


Content in rendering the carving,
what paradise will he try to mine as he lifts

the lid of unhappy cotton? He is jockey
of the slow heart, riding anger down the gangway

though it is saddled with a kiss. I learn it is not
what you want or even what you do but what

you ask for: the vessel of a dark wave breaking
into shivers, a regime of pain cocooning

into your person. Me and him,
the trappings of mercy.

The sun lurks, unwelcome, to announce
it’s time to go, dragged across the sky

by a fish hook. Kiddo, these are things
we have to learn to live with.




Blue & Typhoid Mary


Blue’s chin goes slack at last call                                    You are always hurting me
He goes to war with his velvet pockets to find the change                     He asks
Where is my Typhoid Mary this time of night?                         Does she sleep?
I say She is rinsing the hair of their children                        Stealing their rings
Caring for the hairfall child by boiling dog bones for soup in the iron skillet
(the child will die in two months time regardless and at no one’s expense)
I can tell he loves Mary with a love that’s no one’s fault      though he buys me
gin and crawls around the word divorce       like flies on mildewed bread
His smile billows like the white sail of a ship when I say I’ve heard
she misses him from time to time            In this air     things start to matter
less         like Blue        touching his wife’s back in three month’s time
Like the phone ringing to tell me the news         He is touching his wife’s
back      Like when      in three months time     he walks me home with a delicateness
that is really tentativeness         On the pavement of Vauxhall      we’ll see
a dead fox’s fur drink the oil of a crash       The gulls will tattle and I will know
They are telling of his hand on Mary’s back             but these are things
that no longer matter   Not this air      Blue asks      if I am here     I say
I feel a woman    knocking with invalid love     It’s time to let her out


Sarah Fletcher is an American-British poet who grew up in London. Her poetry has been published in Poetry London, The Rialto, The North, and elsewhere. In 2012, she was a Foyle Young Poet of the year and a recipient of the Christopher Tower Poetry Prize, which she received again in 2013. Her second pamphlet, Typhoid August, is forthcoming in early June from Smith|Doorstop as part of the New Poets imprint.

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