New Page

Nell Prince


Laid down with roots, old
chips of jagged pottery, cut
glass, rust parts - it links
us.  It worms through dead

grass, flint, tyre, bits of vase -
all the rubbish from last
century -
links us through all of this.

Just lately, though, I’ve
heard a glitch your end.
Some unspeakable slur,
slight static errrrr
that lingers when you speak.

I’ve put it down to the line’s
old lisp.  But weird it is.  Goes
tinselly after certain words.  Myth
is almost mix, and
love most gravelly - gruff,

it’s like a faulty kiss,
as if the wires’ rough tssssk
were part conspiracy.  As if
the ground below were

It’s getting worse.  Last night
I hardly heard a word you said.
Began to think the breaking
up was in my head.  That

really it’s all neural jam.
Botched line psychology.
An error pre-installed so
things will always fray, spark wrong.

One day, I might skip all
of this.  I might just spade
the whole mapped thread.
Axe it.  And never mind.

Nell Prince has work forthcoming in PN Review, and has had poems published by Sidekick Books, Measure, and The Moth, amongst others, and was runner-up in the 2016 Jane Martin Prize.  She is working on a first collection.