Two Poems

Joe Dunthorne

The Old Days

Remember when everyone on earth
was pregnant except for you
which was a miracle

and the babies jangled down on their cords
like oxygen masks during unplanned
cabin decompression

and all language was lost to the cutesy voice.
Woo are so wucky, everyone explained
while you adopted

the brace position, amazed at the serenity
that comes from looking after


As a privilege
of my nearly hairless body
I invite ancient men to my bed.

We sleep top-tails
but sometimes spoons.
I make them keep their World War I coats on.

They whisper
about camp latrines, executions
at dawn, the smell beneath their bandages.

They only perk up
when I interpret their dreams
which are always fiendishly literal.