Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

Two poems by Tuesday Shannon

    Photo by Khara Woods on Unsplash 




In the vestibule, Mum dips her hand in holy water,
blesses each of her wayward flock
with the sign of the cross.

We are well-practiced in this deception:
know when to kneel, stand, and pray,
say ‘amen’ in the right places and,

at the call for Communion, remain seated.
Before this grief, I would’ve grinned
at our perfectly timed performances,

not understanding the comforts
of polished pews,
polished answers.




Between a boarded-up chippy
and a boarded-up florist
second- or third-hand fridges
lean to attention.

But there are no passers-by,
no eyes to catch and tempt –
just fallen leaves, empty buses,
artificial light.

In the shelter of a closed shop door
a teenager tugs at his hoodie,
lifts a cigarette with his left hand,
shakes a cannister in his right.

Across every shutter
one word in thick black paint
repeats like a mantra, or prayer.
The streetlights splutter on.