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Poem by Sally Read

Eyewear is very glad to welcome Sally Read (pictured) this Friday. Her first collection of poems, The Point of Splitting, was published by Bloodaxe Books in March 2005. Her poems have appeared in a wide variety of journals including Crab Orchard Review and the British newspaper The Independent on Sunday. She has also featured on the CD Life Lines (Oxfam, 2006), and BBC Radio 3’s The Verb.

Her work has been translated into Italian, and published in international reviews and the anthology, Gatti come Angeli (Medusa, 2006). Her work has also appeared at Nthposition. In 2001 she was the recipient of an ‘Eric Gregory’, awarded to the most promising poets in Britain under 30. She is currently working on her second collection. I've long considered Read one of the most exciting, talented younger poets writing in English today - something to do with the range and originality of her themes, her unflinching eye, and sensuous ear. Her poems pivot on a stylish edge where American and English style meets.

Peony

The room dim behind fly-screens.
Cicadas ratcheting their waves of itch,
scratch, itch. Your face is swollen,
like an un-sprung peony. Asleep

on my arm, it bobs and tinkers
gravity like a bud barely able
to support its neck in a glass jar.
Even in this heat your skin

is smooth. It has a dull light,
and your lashes score your cheeks,
your face so full your eye-lids
belie their sockets. You slide

between my arms, your parted lips
hovering at my breast’s tip.
Dry thrill. Your mouth smacks
and dreams of milk. I think

of the five peonies I kept on my desk
last year and how I yearned
to chuck them when they broke
their rash of swiftly browning secrets.

I couldn’t stand the recklessness;
the deep pink and the fancy layers;
the exhaustion of promise. Blasé
as the neck of a woman out of love.

poem by Sally Read
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