As kids we would pick thorns from the roses,
and stick them with what stickiness was left
– or with some extra spit – to our noses.
Then we were rhinoceroses
planting tracks, roaring across the savannah,
trampling the boundaries of the African front lawn;
thorn down, something approaching elephants
whose trunks didn’t swing, just tended to slip
off when the sweat began to run in the sun.
But sometimes, incredibly, they held on,
and you lost track of that thunderous bulk,
each leg a tree trunk, the submarine gut,
the tender impression of the feet;
you’d remember them only when the back
of a hand moved subconsciously across,
wiping the sight from the face of the earth.
Iain Twiddy studied literature at university, and lived for several years in northern Japan. His poems have been published in The Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The London Magazine, Flyway and elsewhere.