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THE MELITA HUME SHORTLIST 2014: BEN PARKER (2 of 11)

Ben Parker (pictured) was born in Worcester in 1982. He studied Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Exeter and completed a creative writing MA at the University of East Anglia in 2008. He now lives and works in Oxford.


His poetry has appeared in a number of magazines, including The White Review, Under the Radar and Oxford Poetry, as well as Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam. His debut pamphlet, The Escape Artists, was published by tall-lighthouse in October 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013 Michael Marks Award.
Endings
 
Allotments. Shattered chimney stacks.
A black bag tangled like a crow
in the leafless tree. As you walk
 
beyond the last of the deserted
red-brick factory buildings
the city rusts around you. The river
 
thins to a stream that could be forded
by a fallen branch. This is a place
of past tenses, an archaeology
 
of skeletal bikes, single gloves
and bleached cans of beer
the supermarkets no longer stock.
 
Spent matches hint at flame on flesh.
The rituals of childhood. Something
small and broken in the grass.
 
poem COPYRIGHT THE POET 2014.
 
 
 

 
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Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
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