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23 by Luke Kennard

The shop was sparsely furnished and stocked –

a jar of mayonnaise and a bottle of ketchup displayed in isolation in the middle of a shelf, her friend was busy

It was morning

she handed the leatherette book back across the counter.

giant Meccano struts and suspended glass mezzanine.

It was morning

‘To cover her arms,’

in a foil tray

the lines clear and well-defined,


a natural and necessary extension

a hollow, breathy sound.

he rummaged in his suit pockets

The sky was just starting to lighten.

‘I had no intention of making him feel better about himself,

Vast majority takes place in our heads,

her back to the double door

you frighten me

which is all humour really is.

It was morning.


Luke Kennard is a British poet, critic, novelist and lecturer. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2005 for his first collection 'The Solex Brothers'. His sixth collection, 'Notes on the Sonnets' won the Forward Prize.

23 is from his pamphlet 'Bad Sermons', available from Broken Sleep Books.


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