Katie Stockton

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the poet

Katie Stockton is a welsh poet, playwright, crossword lover and recent graduate of the UEA Masters Writing programme. She's the 2020 Snoo Wilson Writing Prize winner, and was recently longlisted for the Poetry Society's Collaboration Award. Her work has appeared in Hellebore Press, Forward Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears and others. Her writing commissions include those by The Sunday Times, Norwich Arts Centre, the Maddermarket Theatre, RADA, Drama Studio London, WalesOnline and Young Norfolk Arts Festival.

the poems

Basilisk

00:00 / 00:55

Faces have seen older, stranger faces than this,

train windows too,

which’ve learned a new habit of smudging me out.

My face squished between the hardlines of a hat

and a collar.


Can you will a face into a second state of life?

Let me tell you: the universe is a snake –

I saw this in a true dream – it sheds

and it

sheds,

leaves behind its echo-brothers on the porches

of its next-door neighbours.


A face cannot live like this.

I’m no universe of cold-blood,

I am an egg cracked, slipping.

You can shadow-reckon my wrinkles,

hear the shadow-people that live

in these folds.


When my face was a stone, a marble.

cold and membraned,

when I liked things the shape of a full stop,

I used to stare long at the basilisk

in the mirror, every morning.

Askew Road

00:00 / 00:55

Heat. Around the fruit bowl like flies,
dripping from the fridge handle,
the upturned door numbers,
dropping from the hallway creak.


The single periwinkle house
beckoned heat down to us.


Summer’s fingers run tracks
through window droplets.


We measure out our stay
in Askew Road, London,
in the hexagons of limescale,
its ones or twos at the bottom
of the mug,

or the tip of the tongue,
if unlucky.


The heat of it.

The sun a pea pod ready to be split.
The neighbours rattling their keys.
The people have stopped parking their cars.
The buses are carving a new route away.


We’ve become our mothers’ daughters,
fathers’ sons.
We could leave for home,
or obey the heat.

Genus

00:00 / 01:14

this garden is

plotted into the lines of my hands

I put an earthworm to my upper lip

and whisper for access to my own skin


when it comes to butterflies

I am a royalist

a weatherman craving a wallflower

a template of root

an earthworm chewing pieces of the dark


school happens again in blades

stems are paper spines

no schoolyard tyrants this time, just

those things I’ll never attain the symmetry of


and the teacher

is the entire memory of winter

blinking over the hill’s shoulder

making me into flowers unfurling without fear

that their twins will be there again

this year


the earth forgives the worm that needs it

the world forgives the wound


the hyacinths and I have reached an accord

when they’ve gone

I’ll construct solariums

out of a new genus

slink down the garden path

to sleep in roses through winter

no lullabying flowerbeds

the magic birds gone quiet

but I won’t be afraid

of giving into soil

of inhaling the heady pollen

that sleepwalks

the slopes of mountains

into my skin

Publishing credits

Basilisk: Re-Side (Issue 1)

Askew Road: Hellebore Press (Issue 4)

Genus: exclusive first publication by iamb /

  Runner-up in the Hestercombe Gardens Poetry Competition 2019

© original authors 2021

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