Samuel Tongue





What is it like to be a herring gull?

(After Thomas Nagel)



Circling the heavy church at the end of the street,

you see a cliff-stack far out in a grey Atlantic,


an inherited seascape sloshing inside your skull,

salting your nerves, your desire’s tidal pull.


Fat and imperious on rooftops, you laugh

down the chimneypots, my hearth

echoing with your uninvited call.

My father excuses himself. My tea cools


as I swallow his news.

The street heaves and yaws;


cherry blossom froths around the steps

and caught in the swell, a shopping bag pulses,


a jellyfish against the rail.

I throw my head back and call and call and call.




Samuel Tongue has published poems in magazines including The Red Wheelbarrow, Northwords Now, Magma, Gutter, and The List. He received a Callan Gordon Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2013 and is working on his first full collection. He lectures in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Glasgow.  Twitter: @SamuelTongue

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