Issue 32 – 2021 – Betsy Porritt

Betsy Porritt




                                        light a candle as evening falls

domestic and unavoidable, who are you

in relationship to this space? Passenger

              to paternal law

rings                spectacular resistance

              touching a relic that blessed ‘clean’ governance


footpaths invent themselves

             waterruns in the public square,

             different alphabets lap lap lap           my mum

 and I talk about my sister’s eggs

                            I push at the scrim with my eyes closed

             my nephews are tactile and puppyish


with my back to the core I’m looking out

             a truck vibrates by to Dover

     silences are blocked passages in our gut intelligence

                          I keep on taking my shoes off

in private

               we hear our neighbours, sound sutures us


                          I plant bulbs because I’m in love

with the closeness of promises           somewhere my

 mother turns her attention to logistics

               we drink coffee from a flask in the crown of a

 fallen Ash       I won’t write the difficulty of being

numerous my hands are framing the daily


               between feast days and tax returns are concrete

 blocks paving slabs iron sheeting and a weapon pit

                                                  a baby is crying in a different

 part of this building

               I’m talking about acts of horticultural

 and civic care


               I’ve made a triangle with my fingers tenderly

 trying to enclose what I mean

                                      holding you all at arm’s length

               I can come in the time it takes you to clean your

 teeth   turning my face to the ground so I can bear

                                                                  witness to the future








                                     hours ooze contains ‘we’ and ‘was’

                        now we threshold diagonally             eave deaf peeping

                        cottony holding place             we’re bookshelf people

                                     shoulder part of the building envelope

                                                 hold                 pronounced ‘house’





                                       delightful eyelid liquidity          russet dyed

                       strip to origin              plain metal body

                       rabbit eyes in the rabbit light

                       shared outline            

                                    ‘your’ safety is important to ‘us’





                         how to shoulder the                            teeth futures

                        making eye contact          hands in continual motion

                        speak boney truth

                                        buckle under it’s ok

                                                    readdress the ground





                       for now little bread biter

                                     we’re wild grass people

                                     waiting on the rushcutters

                        grubbied council vans            hold the tar rate

                        baked in a bottomless pie                   and ate it



Betsy Porritt recently completed her PhD on Susan Howe and material culture. These poems are from a series that will be published in full from Guillemot Press in Autumn 2022. Other work appears in SPAM 001, Amberflora 10, and Datableed Zine X.