William Stephenson




The Chocolate Parliament

In summer the facade drips sweet brown sweat.
Tourists like to nibble the carvings, especially
the gargoyles speckled with raisins and almonds.

It’s tastiest around election time when the walls
soften in the heat of spotlights orbited by flies
sucking news through microphone probosces.

Contingency plans exist to whip the building
into a mousse topped with cherries and cream.
A cross-party committee is tasting the recipe.

The PM favours a jam-cemented Victoria sponge
boxed with a snowflake logo and the legend
Suitable for Home Freezing.  Thus we will cheat

use by and best before.  Our bodies will harden
in coffins of ice, crystalline at minus eighteen,
our packaging bristling with warnings listing

allergens, sugar, saturates, kilojoules per serving.
Potential energy.  Fuel for the gut of the fat man
who drools at the glass as the microwave sings.




William Stephenson’s poems have appeared in Envoi, Iota, Magma, The North and The Rialto.  His first collection Travellers and Avatars was shortlisted for the Live Canon First Collection Prize and will appear in 2017.

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