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Sarah Fletcher: 'A Slap In The Face… of Nature'

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Bends through the ‘party room’
Like a tropical snake. Our drinking amps
The creature’s red, systolic turnings.
We are arriving to night’s final station.
C’mon babies. Time to ride.

A man in a black bear suit sees a woman in a brown bear suit.

Second thought. He doesn’t see her. He has followed her.

Through summer’s fluffy mists, he smelt

Her daybed, sussed the perimeter of her desire.

He’d known of her urine for years. A perfect match.

He zips his fluffy suit, and enters through her window.

Swans drinking white wine
Are just called swines.
He is
Explaining the subtraction
Between event and labour value.
Operette. Acropolis. Fawns fawning.

So bored, I tend the moon’s aquarium.
Tears turn to teeth of serpents
When they reach the water. Now there are lots of snakes.

They arch their delicious heads for breath.
They want to slither back to my eye’s worm-womb,
O Linger Sapphos of the lash-line! Please don’t leave!
He grabs a girl one by the neck and bites its head.

I’ll give you details if you want. He was so slang.
He was circus.
Bodied me his body.

‘Why do forty year old narcissistic cokeheads
Always want to slap me in the face?”

It feels overly specific and obscene
To include a pronoun. It pours a drink. It pours
A drink.
I drink it.

I’d rather be
Summoning angels.
Not angels but halos.
Not halos but the idea of halos.
The idea of a woman,
Dreaming of halos.

When he slapped me in the face
He was Francis of Assisi
Preaching to a bird.
Francis of Assisi
Blessing a bunny.
He put his fat thumb in a hole in my tights
And pulled. Ladders like lightening up my thigh:
Francis of Assisi
Causing thunder.

He is slurring something something partner while
Someone is in Dalston saying something
Something husband. How does she dress?

I take comfort in the deaths of species.
Plants. Gone. Yes. All the plants.
Nervous systems no longer so nervous.
He changes the music to my favourite song.
C’mon baby, time to ride.

I am digitally reincarnated into the past;
Born backe as Baudelaire’s petty whores.
All of them. Yes. All the whores.

Sarah Fletcher is an American-British poet researching towards a PhD on pain in Aberystwyth. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Review, The White Review, Poetry London, and more. This poem comes from her pamphlet 'Caviar', which is out on Out-Spoken Press in March 2022.