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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