shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare


Mark McDonnell lives in Staffordshire, England, with his wife, his teenage twins and two cats. He teaches English in a secondary school. His poetry has appeared in various journals including The Dark Horse, Antiphon and Measure, and he was on shortlisted for the 2017 TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize.

Mark McDonnell

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On Waking

All thought is cotton and merry-go-round.
The man in the junk-shop pulls the blinds
and a girl in striped socks shrinks and pops —

the genie trick — leaves a shimmering space
the shape of her retreating dress.
A wardrobe door sighs shut.

Over streaming hair, the seal of the sea,
and the body sinks through greenish brine.
Rooms and faces drown behind the eyes.

Strange reassembly, this lurch to life —
this brutal farce — like a fight at a wedding.
And now, through lashes, the bedroom door

the ironed shirt, the day slipped sideways,
the future where we are bound to live.
All furniture waits for your waking.