Poems: Annie Katchinska

Illo for Annie Katchinska's poems.

The Queen/She’s so extremely

Tonguetied     Tonguerubbed     Tonguesmothered     Tonguesnagged     Tonguenoodled
Tonguejuiced     Tonguespun     Tonguebroken in a black cab swerving off to the river
Tonguerivered and counting the men who are a useless unshuffled pack     Tongueyanked     Tonguetorn     Tonguegrilled     Tonguebashed a little runt too slow a twitch a bish
a bosh from hand to hand Tonguesmoked     Tonguestunned by (never had) a girltongue
like yours     Tonguestunted forever by Chelsea and Knightsbridge     Tonguepurpled
Tonguestained     Tonguecracked and buckling at nonsense gardeners/nannies/
piano teachers/play therapists     Tonguebloodied double-decker bright and clanking     Tonguecathedraled     Tonguewestended     Tongueredvelvetcaked     Tongueflipped
inside out trying to make it     Tongueshot by my doubled-up gardeners my hedgehog
children     Tonguecornered but very good at sports

The Queen/CBT

nothing here from which to bloom but
overfriendly tarmac, no weeds no spilt chickenwings no urinestink no stamped gum just
sensible woodchip,
fresh air and homework,
Dr Ellis, Dr Beck, you love
us wrong. when the bloom last
came I was the city’s
mulberry tree up
on the viaduct thinking nothing nowhere as wondrous and royal as this
the traffic pouring out and out dreamgrey dreamred
but now
things are cut
(phone line, habits, crow beaks) and bugs
squashed to burrito colours,
I think my husband
visits weekly but how can I be sure
how/why can I my mind make rational and sweet like hers and was this tick-ticking ever really
everything at least
was functional – the girl just pulled a layer of skin off me
the way as a girl I shucked the wrinkled
tails from lizards and watched
them scuttle into their
lucky bright. now
definitively the queen is old
and sick and never a queen but all the gaps
to pour rashly through,
my sudden bursting
and fling and the girl
giggles somewhere inside me nobody’s
rational nothing is lovely
and all I want is to bloom and bloom till time phut-phut-
runs out, it’s June, July,
I may not be royal
I may be
getting better
but Alice shuffle me
again, shake me down.
Annie Katchinska was born in Moscow in 1990 and grew up in London. After graduating from Cambridge University, she spent two years living and working in Sapporo, Japan, before returning to London in 2013. Her Faber New Poets pamphlet was published in 2010.

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