‘Ladybird’ by Lisa Kelly

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EVENT: We’re celebrating Carcanet’s New Poetries VII with a reunion event at the Bookshop on Tuesday 18 June, featuring poets Zohar Atkins, Rowland Bagnall, Isabel Galleymore, Lisa Kelly and Phoebe Power. Book tickets here. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be featuring a poem from the collection by each of the poets who’ll be reading – check back regularly for the next one.

Ladybird

Every autumn I forget they do this,
until they do –
hard-faced carapaces,
little mechanical legs across my bedroom ceiling
insinuating into warm gaps,

congregating under cornices,
black-eyed blotches staring me down.

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home
Your house is on fire, and your children are gone

Occasionally, a maverick, lured by the mellow glow
of the bedside light, will lift its elytra,
like the doors on a Lamborghini
to reveal filmy black wings,

and fly towards my open mouth.

Ladybird, lazy bird fly out of bed
Your home is infested ...

but I shrink back from scooping its crunchiness
into tissue, messing
with its reflex bleeding, yellow toxins oozing
out of its exoskeleton.

All except one and that’s little Ann

(The receptionist had a tattoo on her arm.
In its freckled baby belly, Always in my heart)

New Poetries VII’ is published by Carcanet, price £14.99. Zohar Atkins, Rowland Bagnall, Isabel Galleymore, Lisa Kelly and Phoebe Power will be reading from the collection at the Bookshop on Tuesday 18 June. Book tickets here.

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