Where does my son go
when he speaks in tongues?
I worry for him. I want to call him back.

A young man’s angel wings
tattooed on his shoulder blades
feather either side of his spine.

The Big Issue seller says urgently ‘
I need something to eat’
as if he could haunt me with words.

That time in Paris, stifling your cries
with kisses
so they shook inside my mouth.

After lunch we walk to the sea.
I hunt poetry books that aren’t there,
read Fuck Off on a punk girl’s scalp.

When it rains briefly we unfurl umbrellas.
Yours rests later in the bath,
open as a black sunflower.

Tonight’s clarinettist coils smoky jazz.
His path snakes through the loops,
the spools, the swoons, always returning.

We sail a leaf-stippled river in the dream
where my son steers the rickety boat
over smooth depths and shallows.

I’m speaking in tongues to a black sunflower
homeless with hunger, naked as Paris,
a stone thrown in broken water
for the length of a clarinettist’s breath.

Dearest reader! Our newsletter!

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest content, freebies, news and competition updates, right to your inbox. From the oldest literary periodical in the UK.

You can unsubscribe any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or directly on info@thelondonmagazine.org. Find our privacy policies and terms of use at the bottom of our website.