Issue 21: Iain Britton



the fog clears the jacaranda

it scratches for more space

pushes books into the body of a memoir

time’s transparency

feels tampered with     this morning

lives in panes of tinted glass


undressed     the room

holds its breath     a light bulb

swings imperceptibly

shadows pad their fingers

behind  old curtains     no one

moves     the door closes  


the result is a philosophy for sparrows

a born earth-watcher who keeps

past thoughts locked in a child’s toy car 

who holds it tightly     too tightly     the sun

colours a pathway     amongst trees

a dilated stare picks up only the fallen leaves



heads on blue plates

decorate the park     a camera

follows a camera     flash shots

snap     & a missing person

is located     someone becomes

someone else’s untidy travelogue


eating one’s confession

is a trespasser’s act

the stem of a crucifix

emerges from a woman’s throat

she holds it there

as spectators’ coins collide in the rain



where the arm drapes

suggests intimacy     a caring

possessive notion     argued property rights

who’s trafficking what     constant

companionship builds walls     &

a hair-line crack for sustenance appears



from the bus window      departure is smudged     

a mother waves at the rain      at a small boy

running      the picture repeats itself     

the picture is an artefact without anniversaries     

the boy stops at the end of the road      the mother

is already fiction


call it a gift     the star pinned

to a wall’s lapel     this Xmas banquet

under lights     now off limits

a forgotten festival of celebrations

nobody walks the carpet     or occupies

this altar’s pandered preparation



summer insinuates bucolic ease

white bodies lying amongst tents

worshipping sunburnt deities

frazzled by intensity

a boy dashes after the graven image

of a blackbird’s song


after the performance     the comedian

exits      the toffee-apple eater exits     

the singer of Schubert     & a mask painted

eyeless      exit     the audience

leaves on silence     only the mime artist

remains curled up like a small memento



kitted out in triplicate     the men pause  

gannets plunge into the sea     the sea

spits them out     a Piscean trick is to breathe

underwater     observe nature’s impact  

birds snatching at fish     the men

hooking up ossified offcuts of islands



balloons of air choke epiphanies

from happening     a woman smokes

she doesn’t acknowledge     doesn’t

flicker any emotion     she sits in seismic

stillness smoking     sipping at thoughts

at use-by date prophecies

Iain Britton has published six collections of poems since 2008, mainly in the UK. Recently, poems have been published or are forthcoming in Cordite, Southerly Journal, Harvard Review, Poetry, Mayday, Stand, Agenda, The Reader, Clinic, The Fortnightly Review, The New York Times, Long Poem Magazine, Poetry Wales and the Journal of Poetics Research. A new collection of poetry The Intaglio Poems was published by Hesterglock Press (UK) in 2017.

Copyright © 2018 by Iain Britton, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.