Charlie Baylis




Elizabeth (VIII)

If love be rough with you, be rough with love
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down

Elizabeth lies helium eyed, oscillating to swan lake, I start her
car, every time a nun passes the old brigade, I hear her name
washing like fields in my fingers, tripping the luckiest of lords

in 757s, as if we framed the motion of moons, her big five fall,
the ball she said goodnight, the rippled waves ripple goodnight
and under the balcony I was more alone than I’d ever felt

but Elizabeth, one last question: what if it’s immaterial?
‘If’ was the first word Romeo said to Juliet. It’s IF Elisabeth, if
I could dethrone your throne, if I could paint your lips palatine

If you appeared above me, as a canary, how could
I stand here with the arctic in view, pounding the trains
that pass by the river’s green, I love you Elizabeth with

all the love of a tear dropping from my face, my Elizabeth
my death will hurt the flowers, your death will hurt the flowers
but what else can we do? No one in this world wants us.

Charlie Baylis lives and works in Nottingham. He reviews poetry for Stride. His own creative writing has most recently appeared in Stride, Agave and Litro, he has been shortlisted for the  Bridport Prize (UK)  and nominated for a Pushcart Prizes (US)

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