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Lydia Unsworth

Lydia Unsworth’s latest collections are Some Murmur (Beir Bua Press) and Mortar (Osmosis). Her most recent pamphlets are Residue (above/ground press), cement, terraces (Red Ceilings), and YIELD (KFS). Work can be found in places like Ambit, Banshee, Bath Magg, Blackbox Manifold, Shearsman, SPAM, Tentacular, and The Interpreter’s House.Twitter@lydiowanie



everything so slow

hitchhiking down the only road

moose moose moose moose

moose on the road moose in the trunk of the truck

that’s picked us up

we were waiting for hours by the concrete hub

moose on the hiking trails moose in the lay-bys

moose blocking the entrances to all our pre-booked accommodations moose lingering by the table

as we try to dine

moose by the deep-fried chicken place that looks like a warehouse moose up by the only Norse settlement to be found outside of Europe moose in the van of that guy from Quebec who had driven down from Labrador just for the ride moose staying awake later than half-past nine

like someone took the land I knew

and blew it up


driving ten hours long through ten hours of the same

old signs

slight variations in the pressure

shifting melodies on the radio

a change of accent

a different font relating the identical place names

of the slightly-different sites

the Irish flag flying high over the low-down bungalows

all coast-needy and foam-washed where the ochre rock

drops off into the great unknown

flickering in and out of my vision like the biography

of a parent

I want to sit in that tide and be pushed fossil-high

this whale-crumb inside foreshadowing these weeks

of nowhere

the etymology of my divergent futures


like the tip of an iceberg


Obrońców Tobruku, Poland (the lost art of solitude)

the view was a sponge of knobbled pines

small beacon of hill then the frozen sea

sundays at the flea market

stained vests trying to learn a thing or two about my body

from above my body

wilting nipples, deforested hairs

shoulders shrugged to hungry earth

to all of the flies which died in that apartment

as I clicked shut the opening of my private estate

every buzz a semi-final

twitch against glass

in less than a hundred years

ivy had conquered the brickwork

padded the place

my dampened sound

and nobody knew if I was here

or on the straight road to and from the town


Traffic Island

We keep coming to this patch of land, roughly shaped like a letter Y. A wide road and cycle path run along one side and a clutch of factories lines the other. Various strands of land branch off, and various strands of canal cut us off from various neighbouring patches of landmass. The mustard plants are high today and the general greenery much thicker to walk among than previously. Dry patches on the road side, where last weekend plenty of daisy heads could be plucked from their stems. Last weekend, highland cows and highland-cow babies were grazing, separated from us by less than a metre of water like some impossible demand. And us, treading in goose shit and looking for swans through this bank of aluminium, hoping no one else would stop here.

Silos line the road, a gust of bubbles thoughtlessly blown out. Tens of lorries waiting for instruction face me as I sit and soak up this left-over atmosphere. Five concrete tubes have been added, roadside, by the swan’s nest. I think about pushing my baby through and making her enjoy it, but perhaps she’ll emerge into what might be oncoming traffic. Instead, I explain sitting on an egg by sitting on her and asking if she’s warm yet. She runs to the end of the Y’s left arm and back, stick-fishes for eels of slippery black grass in the navel of Y’s armpit. Flicks whatever she finds up into the air and in our eyes. We notice a section of long grassland on this occasion, wheat, I suppose, though I’m never entirely sure what I’m looking at. We walk the pre-walked path between the swaying fronds; I’m happy enough to be surrounded. The path leads to a gate, which, of course, is locked.



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