by Sophie Hanson

O, the pealing of the bells
on the top deck of the night bus!
stage-set tonight:
liminal space of the damned
if you do, and if you don’t
they’ll come for you anyway —

(that blank stare at a bloodied hand)

O, they will not be cowed!
the news crows triumph
but they are made animal already,
finger-mouthed like livestock evaluated:
dancing bear / bristling pelt
then snarling, trapped —

(but only man could be this ugly,
the animals are above it)

O, pleasant human-like voice
reeling off the U-bahn stops!
mechanical tongue bent around
the consonants and vowels
that almost covered his —

(I didn’t understand
until she translated it for me)

O, english lesbians!
well, that’s not quite right
but sure I got the gist.
and as the doors slide closed on his
teenage assessing eyes
I wonder was he thinking of fucking it right out of me —

(kissing you in the departures lounge
shouldn’t feel like bravery)

Sophie Hanson | @radiofireworks

Sophie Hanson lives in Manchester and has published poetry, fiction, reviews and non-fiction. She works for an arts non-profit and is Editorial Assistant for writing charity For Books’ Sake. She can usually be found writing, reading or watching motorsport. 

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