From Exactly My Own Length, Carcanet, 2011


Most of my life is buried in that room.
I look in through the shattered glass

And see a conversation strobed
Out by the blast. I ran across

This continent so that the dust,
Which fell for years, could not bury the rest.




On the day they find me,
They’ll slit me along my seams
And peel me out of my skin.

They’ll dig out a pit for the rest:
White tendons and hashed flesh
Flopped innards full of stink.

What they want is my hide,
They want it beaten flat
The eyes punched in like glass.

Thrashed and stretched and tanned
Until pores show through the sand
And there’s five peninsulas to a hand.

Until nipples spread to ridges
And silver-pink scars are rivers
Stitched across with bridges.

When it’s taut and dry,
They’ll back it onto a grid
Trace on dotted lines

Circle round the ridges
Add crosses for the mines
Rename all the bridges.



©Olivia McCannon 2011


And also…

Do Boys Turn into Butterflies, TLR
You’ll always be a thing of sun-dazzle and sweetness…’

Mrs Elizabeth Freake and Baby Mary, And Other Poems
‘The baby is looking to one side -‘

The Offer, Guardian Saturday poem
‘They made their highest offer on the house…’

Unborn, The Wolf
‘Once you were a frozen dead girl…’

Mirror, from Modern Poetry in Translation’s Diaspora issue
‘I’ve got a mirror hanging from my pack…’


Video and audio

Poets and Players reading on Youtube, Manchester, April 2013
Reading with Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone

Aldeburgh Festival Poetry Trust Podcasts on itunes:
May 2013, (no.18), In conversation with Dean Parkin
November 2013, (no.12)Alison Brackenbury on Exactly My Own Length