Carnival | by Jack Houston

There’s always a carnival atmosphere
at a hanging, the townspeople flowing
out of their poxy houses to skip
through the shit-splattered streets. The sun,
if the day’s anything like today was, will shine
in the hair of the children – the apple-seller
to do good business. The condemned
will be brought forth to a few boos, some
desultory name-calling. Music will play
on this, their last day. Let them take it
in: the square, the trees, the piper striking
up a bright tune; that same sun streaming
down and lighting up the scene
as seen from atop the scaffold.

Except there wasn’t was there.
You’d put your favourite Rammstein album
on a loop, true, and it was a sunny day,
but there was no square, no people
to hear your last words, just the dog
made to watch and your corpse
left to swing for me to carry down.

in memoriam S.T. 1970-2011



Jack Houston lives in London, UK, where he lives with his partner and their two young children. He works in his local library and took 2nd place in the 2017 Poetry London Competition. Recently work elsewhere online at And Other Poems. @jackmmmhouston

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