A poem by Katrina Naomi

Lunchtime Recital, with Animals

It wasn’t just the elephant
in the Chamber of Deptford Town Hall,
there were three brown horses too.
None of us noticed, at first, as we studied
the pianist’s fierce contemplation,
how she scorched the score with her gaze;
as we studied the violinists’ lumpy cheeks,
as if each suffered a toothache.
There was something of the Russian
about that concert.
                           The elephant lowered
her terrible head, as if she might charge;
but fanned her ears and listened
to what had been done with her tusks.
The horses heard their manes
snapping at the adagio; they clattered
onto the marble stairs, hooves’ harsh voices
          I took a chisel to the keys,
laid its ivory at the wrinkled feet; gouged
the strings from the rosewood, wove them
into the horses’ stubble. Chagall-like,
we swooned the music out onto the roof.
Katrina Naomi‘s first collection The Girl with the Cactus Handshake was shortlisted for the London New Poetry Award. She is working towards a PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths and will be writer-in-residence at Gladstone’s Library in 2013.