Back to Issue Thirty-One



There is a corner of the city where the air is
soft resin. Step in and it hardens
around you. We made
the mistake of kissing there. I mean, here.
Our mouths midway
across the same
inhalation like robbers mid-leap between
rooftops. If kisses were scored by composers
they’d place the breath on the upbeat. Oh
God. Music preceded by mid-air,
when the baton lifts the orchestra tightens:
‘And’ before the ‘one two three.’ And
the sunlight is meticulous. And the river
holds its tongue. And your silver
earring steels like an aerialist’s hoop, caught
mid-spin. A note almost sung. Locked
in the amber of the and.
We just want to land or
be landed on.


Caroline Bird is a British poet with five collections published by Carcanet. Her most recent, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 TS Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. A two-time winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, Caroline’s first collection, Looking Through Letterboxes, was published in 2002 when she was 15. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the 2001 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in and the 2018 & 2010 Dylan Thomas Prize. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics. Her sixth collection, The Air Year, will be published in February 2020.

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