Issue 7: Claire Crowther

The Night Bacchus Let Us Down

So you’re a ‘No’ to our Nonsense Night, Bacchus?

What’s wrong with our community? The ballroom pool

is one degree above perfection? But we’ve shared

an apple with the woman who leaves those freesheets

at the gates – she doesn’t know the code

to open them, she’s no guest – yet as surely

as she is nameless and her russet dust

hanging in our mouths isn’t drinkable,

so all our imperfections are invisible

to her. Yes, she has only a button to show

she’s a god. Rain mark on silk this morning, now

she pulls sky down and we’ve crowned her low lights.

No dawn could ever be as bright as this

board of night she’s chalked.

We’re flying,

ocean birds from bough to coral bough.

Watch our wings fin through this airy salt.

Legend of Grey

After a smogbound pregnancy

her mother said her birth opened

a door locked in concrete.

Her colour was ashy plural,

cashmere black of storm, the silver

of heat. Suppose you’ve not

seen an eye – her intense line of

grey around the iris, inside

colour’s gazing circle,

glows from that flat unnamed mix of

wavelengths. Streets give way when she walks

but don’t think they’re water.

Not only black, not only white,

they’re metal melting, brightness saved

heron-sharp from squalor.


No badge

for any habit

is so fabled

as Appeaser:


Weigher, Fear-

soother, Time-

buyer, Over-

looker, Back-

bender, Be-

trayer. Nor

any label

so garbled.

 The Candidate Goes Home

Is it there it is relief relief more red.

Cars stolen than any other shade buggared.

If I’ll change colour for idiots minutes.

Into the boot my contacts book oh jesus.

Tuesday what time OK OK OK OK lots.

Of time all this carry in out every sod.

That Elder cat another dove she gets dove-.

Cote he gets car old joke I get power has.

To be me they’re definitely going to.

Do it call one lose let me in why don't cats.

Eat the sodding lock the back door oh oh oh.

Get fresh parsley my health experiment men.

And health they get the worst and do they care could.

Those two facts be connected doc July rain.

Best kind he is as good as any orange.

Blossom don’t chain it he’s got to get in hell.

More white feathers starving silk thing very short.

Too good not the yellow bra the blue skinny.

Off with thirteen nights out bit of cream what is.

That strangulated flesh I never starving wine.

Claire Crowther has published three pamphlets, from Flarestack and Nine Arches, and two full poetry collections from Shearsman. Her first collection, Stretch of Closures, was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh Best First Collection prize.