Annie Katchinska

The Queen/Little birds and beasts (from Wonder & Smoke)

I functioned in my entitled world
I sat on the train with Tesco sushi, sucking ginger straight from the pouch
I watched the train weave through luxury developments
I learned an unblinking spite
I learned You should astonish, constantly
I saw a bread roll dropped and frightened on Kingsway
My heart whirled
I had haircuts
I had several good jobs one after the other
I sat on the F R A G I L E R O O F
I made eye contact with homeless people
I tripped over on Fleet Street
I continued to schedule meetings and type Kind regards
The stars popped and rolled above me
I bought heel grips
I bought a cube of air in a luxury development
I swayed inside it
I couldn’t count higher than such-and-such a number
I thought the brilliant tap water was trying to shout but I didn’t say so
I believed no one
I sat in the bar with a nasty drink
I drank with my King
We fell in love
My heart bucked
I heard him referred to as a lovely lovely man
His gums were very purple
He gave me the keys to the castle
He gave me a box of vitamin shakes
I was referred to as exquisite – however
I saw the white arrows all over the road and followed them
I continued to sculpt my inadequate hair
I learned a remarkable 98% of every espresso is water
The cab jumped up and my head jerked forward
I couldn’t stop
I became influential
I tripped over, famously
I said “How stupid!” and the little birds and beasts tapped HOW STUPID to each other
I went to an expensive clinic
I enjoyed blame of all kinds
I went to Malta
I went to my King and grabbed him by the hair
My internal judge said this and that
One day on the street I met this green-eyed bitch

Annie Katchinska was born in Moscow in 1990 and grew up in London. Her Faber New Poets pamphlet was published in 2010, and her poems have been included in various anthologies. After graduating from Cambridge University, she spent two years living and working in Sapporo, Japan, before returning to London in 2013.