Two poems by Stephanie Powell

    Photo by Anton Murygin on Unsplash 

 
 
 

    Foxes

 

In the backstreets the foxes are
synchronised swimmers-
             unaware they are in the same
             pool, unaware they are doing
             the same thing.
Crossing pot-holed Grasmere Avenue,
Poplar Place,
Glastonbury Road.
Light muzzled, shagged amber fur-
thief-footing the pavement.

On bin night they stay close
to the kerbside.
             Waiting for the withering of
             lamplight, waiting
             at corridors of dusky lanes-
amber eyes pickled by TV screen lights.

We will listen to them later,
at 1:17, 2:53, 3:45am
             turning the bins over
             tearing the innards from
the food waste’s plastic stomach.

Victorious, screeching fucking
next to eggshells found
the next day-
broken bodied and kowtowed,
collapsed at the heel of a tyre.

 
 
 

    Deadheading

 

In the back garden my sister-in-law is
cutting my hair with the kitchen scissors.

An ice-lolly squats in my fingers. I am sitting on
a chair. She puts her hand on the crescent of

skin exposed on my back. Strands
dust the fabric like pine needles.

The sound of its jaw,
metal sluicing metal is thick, not clean.

My pulse is in no hurry. Another thick-bottomed snip.
Mowers fell the lawns of South London.

Another dead basil plant is upturned
near the looping garden hose-

seed and soil mixed over sandpaper
concrete. A fly drowns in a bucket of water.

There are many ways to cut someone’s hair,
to hold the nape of a neck gently-

the tender heartburn of a long afternoon
heavy in that finger.

The day lowering its kiss, becoming milky-
catching an exhale of breath or wind.

 
 

Stephanie Powell

About Stephanie Powell

Stephanie Powell grew up in Melbourne, Australia. She has spent the last few years living in London (with some short stints in Canada and Kenya). She writes and takes photos. Her collection ‘Bone’ was published by Halas Press in July 2021. Her work has also appeared in Ambit Magazine, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Dawntreader, Dream Catcher, Spelt Magazine and Sunday Mornings at the River.