Ever After

Oz Hardwick

Every time we meet it’s the same story or, at least, a different story with the same inflections. A dull day at work: there’s the pause. A bruise-black sky and the streets rippling like ripped silk: there’s the quizzical modulation.

 

                      We have painted our windows 70s white and rammed our pockets with ice cubes to stave off the imminent heat, while pop songs and graffiti remind us that the openings for living our best lives are narrowing with each intake of breath.

 

Once upon a time, you explain to the tune of a piano in that Casablanca bar, there were eleven boys cursed into swans.

 

                        Mist gathers to the cough and sputter of a light aircraft and sighing strings, and I tell you about my mother’s mother, her hair a shining spider’s web, her apron overflowing with magpies beyond number.

 

                        Your hair brushes my cheek like soft rain. Every time we meet it’s the same story, though the words are always different.

Oz Hardwick is a European poet, photographer, occasional musician, and accidental academic, whose work has been widely published in international journals and anthologies. At time of writing, his most recent publicstions are the prose poetry chapbook Reports Come In (Hedgehog, 2022), the co-edited (with Anne Caldwell) book Prose Poetry in Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2022), the album Paradox Paradigm with interdimensional space rock band Space Druids, and a magazine interview with rock legend Arthur Brown. Oz is Professor of Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University and his cat is called Louis. www.ozhardwick.co.uk

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