No

A new poem by PB Hughes.

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

A hurled          stone          brackets air
until it finds the perpendicular
          begins its journey along
an axis it can’t get off          A stone
thrown          pierces a film of water

drops          “No” is a sequence played
over and over of the          slowed
          stone          falling gracefully
through water          its vowel sound
rippling memory          Pinched mouth

in a sheet of face          a palm held up
          balloon’s potential for shape
its bursting point          Slight
as a pond          and likely as a universe
          its letters paired on the line

like condiments on a kitchen shelf
          “No” does not contain the mystery
of dark matter           or black holes
in space           Even delivered in heat
it is cold          poled want

PB Hughes’s pamphlet Girl, falling is forthcoming from Gatehouse Press

This article first appeared in the 23 May 2018 issue of the New Statesman, Age of the strongman