Christian Ward's poetry has appeared in journals such as Subtle Tea,
Mannequin Envy and Mastodon Dentist. When not studying for a degree
in English & Creative Writing, he enjoys films, reading and writing.

The Sign Of A True Patriot

He would plant poppies
in winter, thinking it was
patriotic. They never grew
and withered away; he
blamed the neighbours
instead, arguing that they
never represented the best
of our nation and they should

follow his example and plant
poppies in winter and watch
them grow and tumble back
down. He never understood
their ways. They were from
one of the opened up borders
and used to dance to old Soviet
music whilst dressed in costume.

He never ate anything they offered
to him, arguing it had their germs
and he didn't want it polluting him
because he was important. But
nobody understood what he did,
and neither did he. When the snow
fell, the poppies shrivelled in their
makeshift graves. Nobody wept,
not even him. He had given up long ago.

The Grammarian

The logo on his bag says
Nantucket Historical Society, 2002
but his face shows no passing
of time; as if he just left a mould

and sits carrying out left behind
instructions; circling the commas
scheduled for execution, sparing
a dash here, a parentheses there,

cleaning up the page like the way
he has organised his life. His glasses,
suit and umbrella follow subject, object,
verb. There are no adjectives

caught in his reflection. The world
is not a mosaic of memories, colour
and experiences but subjects, objects
and verbs, watching life only to correct it.

Fishing For Shrimps

Wading into the empty sea
with nets thin as lace, we start
to scrape the seabed, dragging
our pile of invisible leaves
to the surface. But there's nothing
there. We pretend that shrimps
are crawling in the muck, clambering
over one another in as they try
to escape. You drop the haul into
the pan and as the heat digests them,
we lay on the sand and watch the stars
tell our story. But that never happens.

On The Seated Figure By Matisse

I'd watch her
wrap stillness like a shawl
around her body, trying
to keep every movement
warm, whilst waiting not
for time to end this session
of ours but for me to drop
my brushes and paint her
from her lips to her navel.

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