Poems by Shaun Hill

“shame shuts us down to what we can offer the world”
             By Shaun Hill

after a long shift brooming the blood of butchered pigs
he stares down at a screen, pissing into his reflection,

and fumbling his fly, lifts a pint from the porcelain.
what question could he use to lasso life toward him?

“perpetual motion machine”
             By Shaun Hill

you are not the voices of the men
who barter in the market for meat,
their sticky fists trying to convince
you to cut up this life for a price—

no, you are light through bamboo,
the back of a bench behind you
know this could be an always joy,
if we could only find our voices

and let them be brave… like a tuna,
gasping, yet somehow gathering
strength, to tense her tail against
a deck, flip her fins up into air:

a shimmering slow cartwheel
into something resembling
surrender, gills rippling in wind
like a four-inch rip in a kite…

how in that wet shadow those
on the boat below are small:
young huddle with their hoods
back and eyes wide with wonder,

giggling as ribbon untucks
the hook pinned to the line—
string flying free as the kite flips
impossibly up and higher,

and they are lighter, and they are love,
and love is us, and we are brave.

             By Shaun Hill

she lies back on the salt bed
of an evaporated ocean

balled up in bewilderment
beside a blue whale’s eye,

reaching for the impossible
mirror drying up to touch

truth before all this
bleaches into white,

and as her eyes begin to fry
on the day’s bright page

she looks up from her notebook
at a willow tree amazed.

-Shaun Hill is a queer writer exploring post-capitalist ways of being. He is a 2021 Pushcart Prize Nominee and was one of five UK writers nominated and selected for the Apples & Snakes | Jerwood Arts: Poetry in Performance Programme. Over 30 of his poems have appeared in a range of magazines, including: Magma, Streetcake, Impossible Archetype, Radical Art Review... as well as on BBC Radio 4. His debut collection, warm blooded things, will be published by Nine Arches Press in Autumn this year. Visit his website

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