The shorthand test.

Dark energy requires that the speed at which the universe expands is not a constant


The female human foetus
is born carrying three million eggs
says the leaflet I find it hard to read
as we wait on the soft lip of a blue sofa
for your twelve-week scan.
And why not? Suns spawn planetary cells.
Futures pack into each other like Russian dolls.

The ultrasound suite smells of lemon drops and thyme.
A bright afternoon peaks under lowered blinds
like an over-excited relative relegated to the car park.
Egg production ends at birth
and by puberty half of them have died.
As if it were ketchup or a scream
the sonographer smacks gel out of a bottle.
From the corridor a surprise of male voices
and jangling of keys. As the screen comes to life
the ice-cold pulse of fear
that where we expect to find you will be dark space,
a star supposed before the advent of light. 




A couple kissing 


on the corner of Woburn Place and Russell Square
meet with such force
that each kiss 
                       cuts a piece of them away

a lobe
           his blue eye
her hand

still stroking as it slaps
onto the pavement between Café Nero
and the red post box

                                 a knee rolls out
from his trouser leg like a
                                                                  hubcap

with her remaining fingers
she soothes a single hair from his collapsing face
 
the crowd of pedestrians at the traffic lights
don’t seem to notice as they topple
                                                 on
                                              to
                                                  their 
          own parts

but the pigeons do. 




The shorthand test



at the stroke of one
I want you to burn your writing wrists
against my spoken word
evaporate the vowels
crush consonants to the raw pigment of idea
shrink your favourite film to a single line
your childhood to the fizzing smell of grass
a continent the pinch of spice
or the way a fly moves up a baby’s face
the incomprehensible to God
ourselves this exercise

Ben Verinder

Ben Verinder lives in rural Hertfordshire. His work has featured in Brittle Star, South, Obsessed with Pipework, Lighthouse, Ink Sweat and Tears, among others and he was recently shortlisted for the international Plough Prize (short poem). He runs a reputation research agency and is the biographer of the adventurer and writer Mary Burkett.

About the contributor

Ben Verinder lives in rural Hertfordshire. His work has featured in Brittle Star, South, Obsessed with Pipework, Lighthouse, Ink Sweat and Tears, among others and he was recently shortlisted for the international Plough Prize (short poem). He runs a reputation research agency and is the biographer of the adventurer and writer Mary Burkett.

Related Articles

Ekphrasis in an Essex Sculpture Garden. Poetry by Michael Bartholomew-Biggs

Ekphrasis in an Essex Sculpture Garden  - an allegory of choosing and being chosen 1 –...

Poetry by Rodica Draghincescu, Translated from the Romanian by Diana Manole

Diana Manole translates the work of important European poet Rodica Draghincescu

My Homeland Soldier by Mohammad Reza, translated by Bänoo Zan

Mohammad Reza studied Graphics at the College of Arts, Tehran University, and has since been working as a graphic artist, painter, and illustrator. He has participated in biennales, and group and solo exhibitions. Mohammad wrote and illustrated three stories for children that have remained unpublished due to censorship in Iran.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Like This

Clara Burghelea Editorial Issue 41

Poetry Selected by Clara Burghelea and Tracy Gaughan Editorial  In a world...

Poetry by Nnadi Samuel

Emerging poet,Nnadi Samuel is a graduate of English & literature from the University of Benin

3 Poems by Kathleen Strafford

In this collection of work, poet, Kathleen Strafford takes a deep dive into memory.

To Profess Love. Sven Kretzschmar

TO PROFESS LOVE Gone, the red brick pavement on Grafton Street –  gone. Yet, the...

Love in the time of Covid by Ysella Sims

Ysella Sims explains that listening is a crucial part of writing poetry.
YOU ARE VIEWING AS A VISITOR. PLEASE .LOGIN. OR .REGISTER. FOR THE BEST BROWSING EXPERIENCE
Close