For Orlando, by Grace Tower
sun / hammers down / like a pestle / its blunt club / on the dust / rubs bright dirt / in his eyes / Carel Fabritius / caught in the Delft Thunderclap / 1652 / at the height / of his career / dies / dying / is defined / by the timbers / the cart / the woman / on the ground / in future depictions / by Edward van Poel / In 2016 / in an interview / a girl / sat on a wall / her ankle boots / swinging / the tremor of lace / on the cuffs of her jeans / a minute long / They ask / how it feels / to lose / her brother / dancing / in canvas shoes / like a paintbrush / mouth full of white Russian / a line of milk / down his Adam’s apple / tugged / by the wind / spun off palm trees / Watch / his t-shirt / brown / like fruit / in his fist / feel his breath / go limp / gather these / dashes / tears / on the wooden stand / like curls of tobacco / with the side of your hand / work the body / of the poem / the way bullet / works the body / load / cock / point / the title / at your lover / enemy / which is to say / I’ll blow you / back.
Grace Tower is a queer poet from rural Derbyshire, England. Having graduated with a Creative Writing degree from Queens University Belfast this year, she is now undertaking a Creative Writing MA at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work for this involves using genre painting from the Dutch Golden Age as a medium to explore and normalise minority sexualities. She won the 2019 Brighton & Hove Arts Council Student Poetry competition, featured in The Seamus Heaney Centre’s Ekphrasis Project, and received the 2020 Dissertation Prize for her poetry collection which received the highest marks. Her poem “Queer in Belfast” was recently published in Libretto magazine.
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