Three poems by Stephen Bone


Textbook arches to calloused toes
gnarled as root ginger come my way –
scholar of the lotus foot, the hennaed sole –
to be soaked in basins of salted water. Pumiced,
clipped; anointed with lavender or bergamot.
My head bowed low to my work. A connoisseur;
hands awake to each detail.

Come bedtime, a whispered litany
of bone and muscle – distal phalanges,
sesamoids, flexors, extensors …smooth
on my tongue. Each word savoured. Sucked
at like a boiled sweet; as parades of slipperless
Cinderellas start to tightrope my spine.
(first published The Interpreter’s House, 2012)

How many

Three. Four.

And still
that moment,
somewhere in
the middle,

tricking me
into thinking things
will turn out

Catch myself
hoping for
the alternative

The one
that ruins
the story.
(first published Seam, 2006)

After they had come for you
the rooms began to follow.
First the furniture,
then the smaller things.
The convex mirror. The Chinese prints.

Until the house had undressed
to the picture hooks
and a lamp on a timer
telling passers-by
where you’re not.
(first published How do I Love Thee competition pamphlet 2004)
Stephen Bone has been published in magazines including Seam, Smiths Knoll, Poetry Nottingham, The Interpreter’s House and The Rialto among others.