The Present

Jack Houston lives with his young family in London and his work has recently featured in Blackbox Manifold, The North, Stand and has been shortlisted for the Basil Bunting and Keats-Shelley Prizes. In 2017 his work took 2nd place in the Poetry London Competition and this year was highly commended in the University of East Anglia's I'll Show You Mine Symposium Prize. He holds council-funded poetry workshops within Hackney\s libraries and tweets @jackmmmhouston

75


The Present


with a line from Michael Robbins


Spacetime takes a cigarette,
lights it, puts the Clipper back
in the box and hands
the box back to me.


Spacetime and I just done a line,
and as we pull on our Marlboros
I can feel my heart starting
to beat into my throat.


Spacetime yawns and stretches
with the rush, tells me
in some unnecessary detail
about the presents


Spacetime’s got the kids,
how it’s all being held 
down, the spin 
of the galaxy’s arms, 


the stars within 
and planets around, 
the light zooming through 
until somebody soaks it up.

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