Photograph by Scott Barron Photography
The Queen of Hearts
All hail the squat impossible; fury cubed. We bow
to the imperial purple: your countenance, botched
and squashed with rage. A head the size of a small
dog in its infancy, then a medium dog, then a large.
The howling's been your soundtrack since
the colic – it's peopled! Manifold with incongruities,
scrappy like flies. But how can it be – that it's also
so monotonous? The klaxon that draws villagers
to the sacrificial spot on a hill, on their territorial island.
Your red-tipped hands dictate this nonsense. Mid-
day, and the gardens are fruited with sluggish bees;
benzene, the clock of flamingo croquet. The faces
of your servants are vague as cabbage roses. White
petals are freighted with paint. There, there Your
Highness, I too have been pure
indignation: cock blocking the world, and thwarted,
the sweet tart of my heart undented by any finger.
So I point to the offenders, my shoulders rising behind
my face like a ruff. No neck, no-necked, no – but still
I make the severing gesture.
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, One Hand Clapping, The Glasgow Review of Books, Magma and The North, and her first collection of poetry, The Night Jar, is out now, published by Salt.