Hannah Cooper-Smithson


A head […] is a thing of wonder […]. But served on a dish, like St. John the Baptist’s […], or reduced to its white and grinning substructure, it becomes a thing of horror’ – Roland Penrose

Crack the head like an egg
that has been hardboiled in a pan
of salted water; reveal a sagging
mask of arterial threads
that bunch around orbital sockets,
knit maxilla to grinning mandible.

You do not expect the glare
of bone through the gaps
in the meshwork, where the weight
of the platelets and the plasma
creates a gaping space
like a dropped stitch.

Hannah Cooper-Smithson is a poet and academic, currently undertaking a critical-creative PhD at Nottingham Trent University, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council M3C Doctoral Training Partnership. Her poetry has been published in anthologies and online, with her poem ‘Woman’ being commended for the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2015 and published in the associated anthology. Hannah is currently working on her first collection.