𝐹𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹 of course the thing you mustn’t say is

O pray for me St Sasha
in fluent русский or via
yr unusually expressive eyebrows
when you remove the bone as one might draw
a hairpin, smear the rollmop on black bread
and indulge my little
pretence that the Russian deli at Elephant & Castle is
St Petersburg.

O pray for me St Edwin
with all the fervency the envious angels will allow
when, picked out on the dripping verges,
I feel against my cheek
the blowsy petals of the rhododendron.

O pray for me St Effy:
walk with me under the viaduct to Flass Vale
where goldfinches chivvy up &
off across the way;
teach me to live the hours not the years
and do, please, to my dizzy, boring, Venlafaxin thinking what
Oz’s whistling once did to Sunday afternoons.


— from Paul Batchelor’s “A Form of Words”, in the London Review of Books

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