Poems: Tess Jolly

Illo for Tess Jolly's poems.


If I stop I’ll fall –
a bird on the wing –
so I fly on and on

singing to keep myself conscious.
I know he’s watching,
that if I fall

he’ll follow, wait
for my shadow to tread water
then swoop down. Play with me.

I resolve to be light enough
to sleep on air.

Magic Candle

He nods and I give him his gifts:
the weight I’ve lost or gained,
the teeth nestled like pearls in white boxes.

He thanks me for being here.
Says there’s no-one he’d rather celebrate with.
I sing the birthday song

and as I warble fe-e-llow
he ignites. Lays one burning talon
on my crown. Laughs. Smoulders.

The Back of My Head as Seen from Above

His favourite view
is of the back of my head
as seen from above.
Something about the way
my long hair parts
at the neck moves him,
and the sounds I make
when bowed like this –
acidy, guttural – mothlight
catching the dark
little hairs on my nape,
which shines like cut glass.
He waits for me to finish
then lowers his beak
to that bone-hollow,
Tess Jolly has had work published in a range of UK poetry magazines, including: The Stinging Fly, The North, Ambit, Magma, Mslexia, Poetry News, Under the Radar, Agenda, The Interpreter’s House, Prole and Obsessed with Pipework. Poems have been highly commended in the Stanza Poetry Competition, the Four Counties Poetry Competition, the Barnet Arts Poetry Competition and twice in the Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition. Last year she was awarded joint second place in the Poetry Society’s Stanza Poetry Competition and was the winner of the Hamish Canham Prize. A pamphlet is due from Eyewear Publishing as part of their Squint series.

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