top of page

2 poems by Blaise Sales


after Marianne Moore  

days after the dead-wasp landed on your lycra’d 

leg you stand next to the kitchen-hob with a clay-

cracked sponge squeezing grey through your head 

in a slew of torpid plops below the glyptic 

incision the small black lines 

twitch blank through the pillowy grooves of lassitude     

when on the left-end of your eye-tip a shape 

impinges in miniature 

like a valley on a button 

like the mottled stasis of paint-streaks fixing a flame 

there interposes a snail

a mud-hole prised open by a conical spiral of sunlight 

the snail-shell finds you through your soft narcosis in the kitchen

and naturally you assume 

the little beast’s dead or severed from its vestibule 

but then you see the punctiform 

edge of a tentacle poke 

its thread-thin way out into the fissile

exterior out beyond its half-hidden form  

and you wonder at its horn’s 

register compared to your own occipital stand-

point as you place the reflective 

blade of a palette-knife under this other life  

and take it on a journey out the back door

The Dinner Party

Flutes clink in the glossy front-face

of the frontier where balsamic drizzles

stickily under sugar-dusted air

and dainty conversations trot across

the ironed cover of crisp-cloth.

Here, in the slick veneer, we curl

cake-forks through the flesh-fissures

of stiffly shut fists

All the better to eat you with, my dear.

and prick the pepper-honeyed glaze

of pork terrine, pliant as tinned

baby-food, all goo and garnish.

Greased chimeric piglet lips

shimmer like the blushing rot

of apple-skin. Pursed pieholes ring

giddily round fillets so slippery

they cut up like cream.

My dear, come near, do you understand what is happening?

The insurgent root of a tooth

spasms inside its gummy enclave.

Pop a painkiller. Erase raised nerve.

Not the time nor the place,

what with little mounds of nuts

desiccated atop the blood-gold crust

of peach brûlée, and the lip-smacked

shovel of the silver-spoon.

this is made of oil this is made of oil this is made of oil

Oil-globules coat the flab-seams

of our cheeks like cling-film,

or the crude glint of black ooze

splitting the sea into petro-archs.

Puffed chests and fudged

ham-fists masque-a-raid in the mise

en abyme, inter-slurring sense

to purely puerile discord.

when there’s dirt between the dirt

We set the tonal range with the jingle-

jangle of the bells on our toes,

pealing under the flaky crust

of layers of dead skin.

Perched on the cushy bolster

of a see-saw, we self-insulate

against its ricochets in shells

and swallow the jellied morsels

like a little egress

in one fell swoop,

theatrical as a disappearance-act.

But underground a sound

emerges, uncoiling like a wave.

A stethoscopic gurgle from the gut’s

lodged lining. The glottal pop

of a pustule under a caked face.

The fricative whisk of human skin

when the walls of the mind grow thin

interfolded through synthetic

yellow glue. The dilatory gasp

of the blood-jet broiling inside

its froggy, throttled heart.

Like a burst pipe, or the fire

throat of water, spilling all over

the walls, all over the other side

of subterfuge.


Blaise Sales is a poet and PhD student at the University of Leeds, where she co-edits the journal Poetry and Audience. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Consilience and The WRoCAH Journal. She runs a postgraduate poetry writing group called ‘Kerning’ and tweets at @blaise_sales.

These poems were selected by Anthropocene Guest Editor Tom Branfoot.


bottom of page