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Category sponsored by Stiff+Trevillion

how to warm up cold ears

Faith Cunningham

this morning i


my earphones 

so my ears 

are exposed:

to fragments of 

distant tongues 

from the raffish 

off-licence where

 my bossman always 

smiles at me

a little golden 

cap on his

egg-coloured tooth

or the slosh of the Thames

down below

a patriotic tourist boat

a little too saturated 

for the grey murk

 they’re oo-ing and ah-ing 

at every shard of glass

fresh eyes

and even the odd nostalgic one

or the keys jingling in my pocket

as i delve into night 

to the nearest neon red ring

poking its head overground like some

omnipresent rabbit

i step into the heat 

of a thousand breaths


i shut my eyes

as i listen to 

the screech of the tube

jolting in familiar corners

like an itch finally taken care of 

somewhere on my lower back.

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