Laura Elliott

beautiful people drown


you stole me a flower from the botanical garden

and watched the colours bleed

through the pages of your notebook while on the train

I had a dream someone

had woken early I sensed their bathwater in the stairwell

warm sweet-scented the way

the nervous man last night described how you could taste

the wine was made by a woman

and someone in the audience shouted fragrant

which was redundant really

everything is fragrant when you really stop and think about it

the railway arches smell like burnt toast

the rain is jasmine smoke I become what the absence of

your fingertips does to me

and in the dream I woke and lay naked horizontal

on the carpet with you

particular points touching like a jumper that is too warm to wear

but draped over the top

provides the perfect temperature and now I know it was

the performance artist all along not

touching her lover that did it and the woman making wine

for the Hungarian cultural centre

that did it and the imprint you kept of a stolen flower

the way something is always

left behind in giving it away like a fragrance




physiognomy in the first place


On the train on the way to meet C for the first time

in anticipation we play

what does this passenger write poems about

and I say moss

as swift as the girl we both choose holding on

to the yellow pole

with green shoes and freckles that lead us to believe in her surfaces

males are conspicuous with their rosette of orange or

                        red-tinted organs on deep green tufts in wet heaths,

                        dark green toothed on long


                                                orange-red leaf-tips on chalk fragments and

                        – because of an association with

                        Catherine the Great of Russia – simply crimped when dry


which means to say she is simply an interpretation

of moss

and how we believe this relates to her textile practise

which in many ways revolves

around a desire to make booklets of handcrafted swatches

or handkerchiefs that correspond

with stanzas of moss-based language

rusty red when ripe waste places

                        with glossy midribs, matt pale green when the lid falls

                        spirally twisted and scattered stems


                                                silvery hair points in a brush-like manner

                        branched and not wrinkled as in

                        dune slacks strongly waved crosswise at the apex


so we associate her image or at least what is perceived

as her image

with our words put upon her drawn from the source

of her presence

which unexpected puts me in a library searching

for language used to classify

her body made moss by this loose search for foliage

shortly pointed and minutely toothed give rise on the undersides

                        arched yellow wings erect densely set

                        and overlapping heart-shaped grass


                                                silvery catkin-like mountain wet flushes

                        closely pressed together on a purplish curve

                        and concave clasp the stem


coming toward coherence of a world in which

I never appreciated

the fabric the patience the sexual politics thank you

for your freckles that led me

to believe in your surfaces and from that investigation

to tactile plant society

and who ever knew beneath the exterior skin

especially on the west coast, near the sea

                        they are fragile frequent bright red delicate oval occasional

                        but may be abundant, banging with a ring


                                                when dry a star is formed

                        by small whitish or bluish-green cushions

                        but the colour and close dense cushions make this easily less.




Laura Elliott graduated from Norwich School of Art and Design in 2009, and completed her poetry MA at UEA in 2012. Her work has featured in anthologies such as ‘Dear World and Everyone in it’ (Bloodaxe) and ‘Best British Poetry’ (Salt), as well as various print and online journals, including Tender. Laura co-edits Lighthouse literary journal and is currently training to be a librarian, she lives in London. 



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