Simon Barraclough is originally from Yorkshire but has lived in London since 1997. He won the poetry section of the London Writers’ Prize in 2000 and his debut Los Alamos Mon Amour was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2008. His work has been published in Poetry Review, The Guardian, The Financial Times and Magma, and he is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and 4. Bonjour Tetris (Penned in the Margins, 2010) contains seventeen poems commissioned between 2008 and 2010.
The house had grown too small for us and so
we spent that final summer in a tent.
At first we interlocked our sleeping bags,
each row of teeth zipped into place like cogs,
our limbs and fingers nightly interlaced.
But due to condensation and the dew,
the zips began to snark and twist apart
and you unhooked them, torch between your teeth,
and bundled up your bones in a cocoon
and shifted inches, light years, out of reach.
Your tongue became a pebble, smooth and mute,
mine frayed, a salty beach towel on the strand.
You found an adder’s egg by Durdle Door
and hatched it in your polyester nest
while in the gloom I rode to Casterbridge,
the pages greenly lit by your turned back,
that glowed a weedy hue right through
the segments of your gently humming sac.
I didn’t wait to see what you’d become
but turned my eyes to hard-baked Dorset Knobs.
You scissored your way out. I felt the draught
of autumn winds and newly minted wings.
My heart froze like a goldfinch in its cage
and Chesil Beach began to feel its age.
from Bonjour Tetris (Penned in the Margins, 2010)
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