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Fiona Benson

Fiona Benson’s most recent collection, Vertigo & Ghost, won the 2019 Forward Prize for Poetry.

Poem: ‘Mayfly’

Fiona Benson, 16 April 2020

Subimago

Tomorrow’s dancer     on the water’s            sticky lip

hurrying out      of her husk –            a lush fluttering

as she struggles      into late noon light,            breaking all the...

How we collectively itch under their collective whine. All night insects thicken round the clinic’s outdoor light. In the malaria ward the beds are pushed so close the sleepers share the same bad dream: a female mosquito filling her soft bulb, dipping her beak for a drop of blood to ripen her eggs; how her abdomen’s rosé flush deepens to ruby as she siphons out water as...

Two Poems

Fiona Benson, 14 August 2008

Lares

I keep going back to that bird, snagged by a halter or skein of fibre or yarn and strung from the gutter of the opposite house where it quartered the wind, each bead of its spine and the dead-drop of its skull lit up against the breeze-block wall, claws pushed out as if skidding to a halt while its beak transmitted code.

I say a prayer to you, small ghost, small noosed spirit of the...

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