Two Poems by Rupert Locke

She knows her chickens and I know my onions

her ear at the coop
can sift through the whirrs
for a call, a plea or a song. Listen
in a slap of wings
she spots the next move
as brother pecks brother to brink of death
she plays mother
feeds them shut
takes their shit

mine need room to swell
real heavy feeders
no feathers or claws
or beaks and no sound
just bloating in mid-April soil and rot
no necks to wring
just silent scoffing
and scars of rust
from tears unsent


Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

In-ter-con-ti-nen-tal
Six syllables    laden with plosives
Shot from alveolar ridges
Across conference rooms
In short-noise bursts
By white men in suits
Followed by one more
This time   mounted at the lips
/b/ for ballistic
/b/ for bombardment
/b/ for barrages    bodies    bangs
Before the lateral approximant /l/
Tongue tip touching
The margin
Pushes its payload
Clear

From voiced to voiceless
/k/   the velar ejective
Comes at the last
Loaded at the glottis
Discharged into the airstream
No vibration
Largely unnoticed
Before a final salvo of fricatives
Mi/ss/ile/s/
Sizzle off the tongue
To immediate    aural     impact


Rupert Locke works as a teacher in Palermo, Sicily. He completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter in 2011. His poetry appeared in the collection ‘Lost Things’ by the Reading Room Project, and he has work forthcoming in Sarasvati.

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