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Grief Emoji by Graham Clifford

I want to be back. The Uber Eats driver is praying to Mecca in the doorway

of the Five Guys burger joint. It’s dark out but muggy and early. I’ve

started following Twitter feeds named like Thieves Getting Fucked Up. A

man barges the doors of a bus seen through a smeary CCTV eye to snatch a

handbag but the driver locks the door and baseball bats his arm till it goes

floppy, his face goes from joyful Goya simpleton to a look that says please

stop all this learning, I am learning but it is too much, a lifetime of

realisation is going in but it’s breaking me apart and twenty something

years of not giving a shit is being reversed. I get it. Please stop, it’s tearing

me apart. A mugger is hit by a car and flung into a tree. The man stealing

food with a gun with no bullets is shot in his face by an off-duty

policewoman who gets a round of applause.

My daughter has sourced a mobile phone cover that makes it look like

you’re holding a large, purple crustacean to your ear. Then a leather

rucksack designed like a pill woodlouse. There were three billion less of us

when I was her age. I corresponded with the society for Psychical Research.

I stole. The news is a death anchor but cosy. I read but what I’ve seen

bubbles under the pages. This world will come to fruition if I can just

concentrate a while longer.


Graham Clifford is published by Seren, Against the Grain and BLER.


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