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STEPHEN SEXTON

 

 

eStephen Sexton lives in Belfast. Poems have appeared in Granta, Poetry London, and Best British Poetry 2015. His pamphlet, Oils, published by The Emma Press, was the Poetry Book Society’s Winter Pamphlet Choice. He was the winner of the 2016 National Poetry Competition.

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Rooms

 

 

Because the human eye can see
so many shades of green,
the couple filled their modest flat
with ferns and Parlour Palms

 

and aspidistra, and aloes,
a Baby Donkey’s Tail,
two weeping figs, a desert rose,
some fishbone cactuses.

 

To call in on them is to breathe
what forests sing about—
a chorus of viridian.
I do some Sunday nights,

 

for Beaujolais and company
and dozing off, the plants
say the kinds of things children might,
but they are not children.

 

 

 

 

 

Terror

 

First arrived a pair of antique broadswords
passed point to pommel through the letterbox
in a jute sack, with no return address.
Lancelot, Melion, Galahad, O
all the knights we know are dead.

 

We changed light bulbs all morning,
unpacked books, bled radiators.
Albert on the lawn introduced himself
to each of the daffodils and we began to live there
and Scorpio slipped into Sagittarius.

 

Some daggers made from cassowary bone
came bubble-wrapped and anthropologists
of some renown determined their origin
as Papua New Guinea, mid-18th century.
Housewarming gifts, we told little Albert.

 

Though we loved the moon, the moon
could not defend us, loving as it does the sea.
For weeks we slept like avocados.
An avocado is its own unit of time, we thought,
goosebumped and spoiling in our bedroom.

 

Had we known the werewolves were so many
we would not have come, my wife said to Albert.
He loves werewolves the way terror has an opposite.
They cannot themselves be responsible
for what night does, she said.

 

Letters came floating by with directions
to anywhere else but our cul-de-sac
in the heebie-jeebie script of werewolves.
And then came the trebuchet, flat-packed,
assembled in the garden one afternoon.

 

The Kamov Ka-60 Kasatka landed complete
with two Russian pilots, both milk and two sugars.
They missed their families, the steppes, the snow.
St. Petersburg has its charms, said Sasha.
Red Square is quite beyond compare, replied Sasha.

 

An orca, Esmeralda, belly-flopped on the lawn
next to the helicopter, clicking curses
like a massive handbrake. For Albert we left.
The world still has a big soft place for him
so we packed our things and set out for it.

 

So long daffodils, see ya sunflowers!
He’ll grow up to be kind as daylight.
Some tomorrow morning millions
of people will stand naked in their mirrors
saying I’m sorry, for everything, I’m sorry.

 

 

 

©2018 Stephen Sexton

 

 

Author Links

 

"The Curfew" - 2016 winner of the U.K. National Poetry Competition

Oils published by The Emma Press

 

 

 

 

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