Rocket – by Lydia Unsworth

There is a hole where a decision should be (where an act of love, where a sweltering and broad horizon), where a welling up like seafront fizz lashes at the pent-up rocks stacked against the hard edge of the mainland.

There is a cough in a silent hall at the precise moment a thread of hair and violin string make touching.

There is a change of state, an accident of opinion, layers of paint, the bright light that surrounds modern art. There’s your private consideration of it, the art, your shoes and their forever undoing shoelaces, undoing only when you are out of your comfort zone, malignant forces whose name is a fly swatter clapping your cheeks without rest, without real pain.

There is a cracked voice at the end of a stamped slip of paper, the red sealant a closed mouth, gloss masking shame. The veneer flaps like a roughly raised mosquito net over a kitchen door that provides no exit: all tendrils and unhealthy velcro and mosquitos anyway. They can see you trying. Never cook too-plain pasta for anyone. Never welcome them through into the mess you’ve made.

There are night rockets ablaze with whatever you hoped the stars would inject into you. There’s impetus, impotence. The uncut grass of never asking knots and knots until severence is the only uncalled-for answer. The sir in any kind of response already cause enough for a swerve. Gardens that should have been tended, either tended or left wild enough to flower.

I am the suburban no-place. A tent pitched in the back garden of an ’80s housing estate. A no-frills cheese-and-tomato pizza that tastes more like woodchip than anything else. A midnight walk to a petrol station for rubbery snacks. A metal fence with a bent-back gap. A trail that leads to no more than an electricity pylon and then back to that gap. Yet there are night rockets ablaze.





Lydia Unsworth is the author of two collections of poetry: Certain Manoeuvres (Knives Forks & Spoons, 2018) and Nostalgia for Bodies (Erbacce, 2018), for which she won the 2018 Erbacce Poetry Prize. Her work can be found in Ambit, Pank, Litro, Tears in the Fence, Banshee, Ink Sweat and Tears, and Sentence: Journal of Prose Poetics, among other places. Based in Manchester/Amsterdam. Twitter@lydiowanie