Rebecca Goss grew up in Suffolk. She returned to live in the county in 2013, after living in Liverpool for twenty years. Her first collection The Anatomy of Structures was published by Flambard Press in 2010. Her second collection, Her Birth (Carcanet/Northern House), was shortlisted for The 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection and winner of the Poetry Category in The 2013 East Anglian Book Awards. In 2014 she was selected for The Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets.
A Man Greets His Wife from Her Short Break Away
The first thing they do is embrace.
Fat smiles stay on their faces
all the way to the restaurant.
He eats ribs with sticky, podgy fingers.
She bites chicken wings with shiny lips.
They have a pudding each and share another.
In the car, she tells him about a girl she saw,
with a short, spotted skirt that flapped
around one long limb.
‘There wasn’t even a stump to satisfy me,
just a space where the leg should’ve been’.
‘Was she very pretty?’
‘Yes she was.’
They stop talking and at traffic lights
he strokes her thigh, instead of saying
how sad her story sounds. Quietly, he resents the one-legged girl
for changing the mood between them, resents his wife
for telling him the tale at all.
Making love to her later, it’s a pretty teenager
sitting astride his wide belly. One leg tucked behind,
leaving the torso, smooth and deformed, moving over him.
This poem is taken from The Anatomy of Structures, 2010, Flambard Press
Matt Howard lives in Norwich where he works for the RSPB. He is on the Advisory Board of The Rialto and with Michael Mackmin, is co-founder of the RSPB & The Rialto Nature Poetry Competition. Since 2007 he has been on the committee of Café Writers in Norwich. He is also part of New Networks for Nature, an eco-organisation that asserts the importance of landscape and Nature in British cultural life. Matt was selected by The Poetry Trust as one of the participants of ‘Aldeburgh Eight’ at the 2014 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. His debut pamphlet, The Organ Box, was published by Eyewear publishing in December 2014.
Gorilla gorilla gorilla
For his moods,
the schemes and theories behind each curious held gaze,
the gasps and beating of his chest;
for his hands, their absolute power and grace;
every capture and release of sparrow or finch –
unharmed, their flight intensified.
For his obesity,
each of his thirty-four stones,
and his teeth, spoiled with melon, pineapple and dates,
even punnets of strawberries, sent out of season.
For his thirty one years
and the necessary dentistry that killed him.
For his dead weight in the deep freeze,
his pelt in the tanning drum,
the shrinkage of his skin and the beatitudes in his DNA;
the silver of his back
that would not stretch for the stitching.
Guy on his haunches as full-mounted specimen.
For all the incinerated viscera,
the vanished waters of his eyes, their empty sockets;
for the painted glass beads
and the person who came by Circle Line to deliver them
and everyone they reflect; the irises too brown,
the too-perfect ring of each limbus.