Two Poems by Sophie Herxheimer

Mother in Heaven

What’s the difference
Between a ghost and a bride?

Both like to spook you darling!

I’m in crisp broderie anglaise
So pretty and demure, and look!

I’m marrying for the very first time,

My first boyfriend, handsome
Desmond Cliff, who loves me
In that great unguarded
Boyfriend way.
He’s cricket captain!

We don’t care about guests,
Heaven is full of them,

And all the guest equipment:
Fluffy white towels, little soaps, a lawn…

It’s a gesture of exclusivity
Our children aren’t invited,
Needn’t even know.

Heaven’s a place where
Innocence can grow its daisies
Unencumbered, and

Sadness, mixed with
Impossible pavlovas
Is the new black.

Siren Dahlias in the Park

we burst with lust
                   bring your lips to mine,
they barricade us in
                   be mine at once
with strict railings
                   bend to our will oh why don’t you honey
lest we impress
                   don’t let us languish here
the passing bachelors
                   take us with you oh you’re sweet too
with our irrepressible feelings 
                   such fine fine upright…
and fall on them oppressively
                   adorable, let’s spend the afternoon
with insistent swoons
                   have you ever felt cooped up?
and arias in yes, cerise
                   we’re here to spill extravagance
our aching pompom hearts
                   our searing brazenness
we are joy without shadow
                   your dream patisserie

Sophie Herxheimer is an artist and poet. Her work has been shown at Tate Modern, at her local allotments and on a 48 metre hoarding along the sea front at Margate. She has held residencies for TfL, Museum of Liverpool, and The National Maritime Museum. Her collection Velkom to Inklandt (Short Books 2017) was an Observer book of the month and a Sunday Times Book of the Year. Her latest book, 60 Lovers to Make and Do (Henningham Family Press, 2019) is a TLS book of the Year. Her next collection, a pack of collage-poem playing cards, INDEX, comes out in spring 2021 with zimZalla.