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‘Wanton’ and two more poems.




THIS is structurally unsound
will fall at any moment into a valley
of the exact second when we decided to make this journey
every changed sound slips into a piano
into an anecdote of my grandfather’s trauma
whiteness, shock of ghost-locks
everything his family lost
beneath the chandelier a dance
we are sipping champagne from mirrors
yesterday a trawler broke
swallowed into ice off the coast of Norway
to wake to planes within prayers
their jet streams dispersing
the only sound remaining is a lighter music of disappearing nations.

Amelia is a reliquary

I AM telling her a thousand and one stories
did I know this would happen
did I know there is a necropolis in Liverpool
I’m two decades away from you, she says
in my dreams she is only bones
the other was Ecuadorian but we never kissed
the one I miss said she was steps leading to Christ
I am godless without her though each morning I pray
hollow trinity, lover’s palms are wanderers
she gave me her favela, an image of a torn-out heart
I gave her my thigh bone
watched her sharpen the bone
until we were photographs, waiting
colluding, idols made of bone
bowed by fever dreams of relics
small bones, all the teeth, a skull so tiny it cannot be a skull
the fingers of a bastard who became a saint
because no one is left now to speak of his blasphemy
tell me I’m wrong when I forget the face of God
and see only the fluid shape of your voice.

advice for the lost

PERHAPS an iron labyrinth
webs suspended from rivet to river
toppled monolith
that whisper is not a vowel
too harsh to be a hymn
perhaps a vow, a final promise
I vow to go, to leave, to never sleep beside you
or say gather not ye apricots
while the vale is burning
and somewhere, over Wales
the soft sound of weeping moves eastward
a strained sound of woe
waning until it’s lost forever.

Michael Egan is from Liverpool and teaches English in Cheshire. His second poetry collection is The Ghost Maze. His debut novel, Circles a Clover, will be published by Everything With Words in May 2021. He’s currently completing a second novel called Oglet Shore.

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