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3 poems by S M Rubenstein


We butterflied a chicken, seared the skin,

then steamed it till the meat fell off the bone.

Dependency’s become a different thing,

with you I find it’s fine to be alone.

A hundred thousand saiga, suckling, died,

they fell amid the thousands that survived.

The bedsheet hanging on the door became

a marble statue swelling through the room.

While I was on the beach, my blood withdrawn

from paddling a little, the sea was thrown

out of its element by your flung hair —

you dived again, abandoning the air.

The Monument

The fella dropping from the platform of the Scott

doesn’t disturb my day.

Its Binny sandstone,

dug up peach, is blackened in effusion.

Those gulls are real but the hawk is not,

it’s just a kite that tugs the rod and snaps

across the sluggy clouds.

A friend of mine,

she tasted like a dental glove at times,

but I was cool with that.

They often flap

their arms I’ve heard, like penguins, going down.

To try to fly, d’you think, or as a game?

Look mum, I’m having fun! Finally!

Lovely dear.

Someone in a pram,

passing by my bench examines me.

I need a baby or a job of my own.

Nothing metaphysical/bout needing to be loved

before O'Hara

Beauty's slammed the doors and gone out for a drive.

When the hedges are thrashing like they are

I talk to Frank, who tells me that my worries

are only a symptom of the pain. Ya dig?

Let the yellow-bellied leaves fall where they may.

As usual, Beauty stops off at the gallery and breathes

down people’s ears about the blues: poor woad,

azure; sildenafil; the Yorkie bar.

Beauty returns to find me sprawled out on the loveseat

enveloped in a poem. The window bangs its frame.

But this is a tight little thing I don’t know if I can pull off.


S M Rubenstein comes from London and is based in Edinburgh. He studied at the universities of Oxford and St Andrews. He just got back from a stint working in Italy. He runs a monthly meet-up for poets and musicians called Journal Shmernal. He has had poems and reviews published in magazines like The Moth, The Wee Review and Adjacent Pineapple.


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