There is a beast swimming in the belly of the earth,
crouched in the salt-water of waiting.

It slithered out from all the stories – words
long since torn into shreds by claws

drawing the sly lines of a crowded mouth
beaked into a smile, carving the long tail

of its origin across stripped carcass bones,
pillowing its sleek head in molten metal.

Scars are scratched across the stone sentinels
still standing in this cold and pirated kingdom –

symbols plundered of all their meaning
are still yet proclaiming their warning.

Crouched in the salt-water of waiting,
there is a beast swimming in the belly of men.


Zoe Mitchell lives and works on the South Coast. She has been published in national poetry magazines The Rialto and Brittle Star. She recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester and was awarded a Distinction.

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