2 poems by Nicholas Hogg


Interstellar


She tells me the whole universe

has to exist

for this moment

to exist – on a bus into town, where no one

knows her name. One stray atom, she explains,

burst from a fissure on a moon

like Titan, could've rocked her fate.

She opens her tin and pinches tobacco, the lurid

buds of green. You wouldn't have been born, she says,

crumbling the dope. And I could've been

a rocket scientist. She licks the paper and seals the roll.

I wouldn't be on this fucking bus for a start, she says,

looking for a lighter to fire up her joint.

You ain't got a quid have you mate?



Kayak


You could look down into the River Soar

and see thick green reeds

wimpling in the glassy flow. There were bullheads

and sticklebacks, the rumours of a lobster

that was obviously a crayfish. I remember

when Mick Fairlight found an old kayak

rotting in the grass, and we carried it back

to his house on Goodes Lane

where his dad commandeered it, patching up

the holes with gaffer tape, before tying it

to his roof rack. It was a weekday, but he hadn't

worked for months so he had plenty of spare time

to drive us all down to the Gate Hangs Well.

His only real commitment was to fighting

his eldest son in the box room.

Anyway, he might be dead now, I don't know.

What I do recall is how he launched the kayak

from the pub garden, pushing it out into the river

and paddling furiously

as the frame collapsed and the water gushed in.


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Nicholas Hogg is the author of Show Me the Sky, nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and Tokyo. His short stories have won numerous prizes and been broadcast by the BBC. He was winner of the 2021 Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Prize, and twice shortlisted for the Eric Gregory Award for young poets.