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Caution Your Blast by Jo Bratten

Caution Your Blast


And when it is finished I pack all your words

into a bag, heave it over my shoulder, catch  

a plane north where it’s light till late. 

The river falls away, shrinks, swells to sea

and I peel a sickbag in half to write 

this thing that will make loss look splendid

but the pen explodes in my hand. Sticky ink 

fills the shiny creases, stains my palms. 

At thirty-thousand feet we see so clearly.

Below fallow fields run like rusted love 

and somewhere another self drives west,

yet another hurls shame to the wind, 

howls, beats fists on firm supple earth, 

fills her enormous mouth with acid,

throws back her head and spits. 

In this oily intersection of selves the air 

blasts and burns and bursts

and I am somewhere landed, old but new.

Here on the tarmac my future turns,

looks back at my past who’s just passing

and I think she winks.

Jo Bratten

Jo Bratten is a writer and teacher, based in London. Her work has appeared in Acumen, Ambit and Fire. Twitter: @mimimojito

About this poem

"Alongside the runway at London City Airport there's a little orange sign that states, somewhat cryptically, ‘caution your blast’; this has always seemed quite good advice."


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