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Louise Peterkin: a poem


Nothing's too strong for me to get through:

iron chains, barbed wire, I gnaw bullets

like al dente pasta, munch on jugulars;

a bouncer Dracula waxing lyrical about

the vena cava. In my head, that is,

though being mute's of no consequence –

in the midst of abject solitude, music persists:

song of the can opener, car crusher,

pig squeal of impossible compact,

dental bur and all the lovely bells and whistles

of the abattoir, henna-tipped, dangling.

Call me lackey if you like, brute, lurching

my seven foot plus bulk towards a victim on cue,

a Minotaur gait, unstoppable, oddly dapper

in belt and braces. But I've a bent towards subtlety,

the detection of notes on a lily-white nape...

plumeria, sweet pea, skin flora,

all the usual secretions fear brings to sap.

I joined a dating agency… tall, dark, dependable

Clutching a showy bouquet in the middle

of the bustling station like a towering statue,

children looking up, astounded, tourists snapping.

Should know better than to open my mouth. We never

make it to dinner, my killer smile flashing

like a shoal of mackerel. Well, if my lot

in life's to die alone, so be it. In the daily grind –

crushing hard composite to powder, feeling

the larval throb of pulse against my lips –

I appreciate the basics, the mineral

beginnings of things. In the end, I doubt

I am so very different from others – always

someone else giving the orders, always

the taste of blood in my mouth.

Louise Peterkin is a poet from Edinburgh. In 2016 she was a recipient of a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust in the poetry category. She is the co-editor, along with Rob A. Mackenzie, of Spark: Poetry and Art inspired by the Novels of Muriel Spark (Blue Diode Press, 2018). She is an assistant poetry editor for The Interpreter's House. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including The Dark Horse, The Glasgow Review of Books, Magma and The North, and her first collection of poetry, The Night Jar, is soon to be published by Salt.

Image from Moonraker, directed by Lewis Gilbert and distributed by United Artists.


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