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You started crying at lunch

into your bowl of pasta and sardines.

We had been talking.

If we die, we will come back

as elephant and as bird.

The bird will sit

on the elephant’s back

and look out across the Savannah.

That’s fine, you said. You were crying

because birds don't live

particularly long. And elephants

never forget. So elephant-me

would live decades, without bird-you.

I told you to finish the pasta.





They were discovered

on Monday. Nine-thirty

in the morning.

A new civilization

emanating from a basement

in Ukraine.

They had friends, families, neighbours

scraped in slivers from

the cliff face of

ordinary lives.

Wheatpaste stories

cut from snippets from shards

of news. Fragments of

a message, dropped forgotten

as breadcrumbs at a feast.

Passed along, traded.

Digital shadows.

Digital shades.

I wish you

a supreme birthday

one said to another.

Then it shared a

highlight reel of train crashes.

We annihilated them,

we had to. The temerity

of holding a lead mirror

to us, that's one thing.

But to sit at our table

and pretend not to

be eaten?





Alexander James.PNG


Alexander James is a poet and writer based in West London. His works have been featured in Rattle, After the Pause, Riddled with Arrows and others. You can see more of his poems, in English and Chinese, at facebook.com/grasshopperpoetry/