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4 January 2023

The NS Poem: Tender

A new poem by Sarah Fletcher.

By Sarah Fletcher

On the long sip of a train journey, 
he has hidden twelve pink cherubs
in the body. When he breathes out,
I hear them, 
                      impotent and wailing
as laboratory mice. Speak English,
children. For my sake, please. 
When he breathes in, they scream.
Please be more gentle with your breathing,
as I am with mine.

Their heads bulge beneath his skin
in gentle undulations. Two have burrowed
in his jowl for comfort. I am not their mother. 
Not a chance. 

When he breathes again, the train roars and I go:
Quiet. Quiet! Christsake, Sam. I want to get off.

Sarah Fletcher’s debut poetry collection, “Plus Ultra”, will be published in April by Cheerio

[See also: The NS Poem: Cicadas]

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This article appears in the 04 Jan 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Sunak Under Siege