Found in a Drawer

We hear them on a film roll
a message which is not a telegram

Soldier you speak of having fun
There’s a twang in that honeyed Yorkshire accent

Although I have never met you          & never will
I want to blow a child of The Somme                        a kiss

You never knew your real father        a man
who could have been     & was not

Somewhere out there at the lip of a crater
a hipbone curves         like a smile at the sky

Easy to be pragmatic while I walk my dog
Calm cerulean blue overhead

Only cross hatch fluffy Chem trails
appear to lock us in

And it’s been so long since Albert’s Golden Virgin
tried to leap from The Basilica as if

she wanted to topple into their arms
As if she wanted to print herself        into bone marrow

Into nothing…

I’m too young to know what this really means
you both died  and we bring you back

a mute pastiche dragged through stations
the notice board says  Severe Delays
©Natalia Spencer 2016

We Dined At The Restaurant

you worked at to fund your grant
I combed your hair towards my ribs
the opposite way to where you were going

You spoke of Akil—he who uses reason
a new star        pinned to your lapel

the red diyas do little to mask
the blaze I’ve seen before

When you stepped off the runway
you could have been anybody

Some hours later it’s the first time words
sound like hiccups.

He tells me the down draught wrenched
your weekend rucksack          from his arms

& I picture that ochre imperfect
corona             meant for him              on a china cup

© Natalia Spencer 23.03.2016
Cover Image Rights Sean Gallup/Getty


Not One I Want To Write But Know I Should

Tomorrow the day when florists deliver bouquets
yours absent of lilies your mother’s flower
She the determined woman      who parcelled
a three pound child in brown paper      & was gone
before end of your first year

Your father never bought a headstone     & I often
wonder why stiff blooms have power to poison
family after pollen falls           They blamed you
rather than focus on real cause or accept
just how much you were wanted

Years on I meet a woman with those same dark eyes
fierce & wild as you are. The photograph of her
in her new mother’s arms mirrors that sepia shot
Ann out on the back step        sleeves rolled up like a mother
who salvages a birdcage from a charred room

& I cannot       bring myself to order flowers
which eventually droop & lick            silent walls
Because in your last age of breath & spit
all the gentle words I must say           should be seen
not gushed      as panaceas      across a writer’s desk

©Natalia Spencer 2016

Cover image ©Marie Elkins 2012



Expansive Odour of Desire

skin porous & florid    ooze
the not quite
citrus or physical

as if she is
made of snowflakes    different

minute by minute
slowly melting into soft vapour

dark & wide enough
for a man to drown in liquid tension

Her pupils suggest I should fill her
with     Verpa  lingam            lap rocket

the subtle prefer to call

played by fingers & thumb
& she is

so sweet
soles flat to my nape; worth

every second of delayed fall
into her

like salmon
compelled to spawn    & after

milk white pearls
claim air
as essence        on rippled sheets

© Talia Hardy 2016


You reach in to lace edged surf,
snatch his crescent moon from her crib.
The water is too warm. Is there a pulse?
As if to offer milk you hold him close.
Shrieks attract more of your species who snap sacred flesh
reflecting a million gold and silver scales.
Such curious smiles you bait ball his body.
When the last air left froth corrupted lungs
No one heard his mother’s cries. Still you hug
that strong urge to capture an all-important picture.
Yes that one—long beak to human nose.
The one you delete after he is dumped
like a plastic toy in the footprint
you leave behind for Argentine waves to collect.


© Natalia Spencer. 2016