Nigel Kent is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2019) who lives in rural Worcestershire. He is an active member of the Open University Poets Society, managing its website and occasionally editing its workshop magazine.
He has been shortlisted for several national competitions and his poetry has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and magazines. Some of his work has been translated by Mariana Zavati Gardner for the literary journals, Banchetful and Pro Saeculum.
In 2019 Hedgehog Poetry Press published his first collection, ‘Saudade’, following the success of his poetry conversations with Sarah Thomson, ‘Thinking You Home’ and ‘A Hostile Environment’. His pamphlet, Psychopathogen, about life during Lockdown has just been published.
For more information visit his website: www.nigelkentpoet.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter @kent_nj
I came to see her immediately hurrying through the deserted lounge, its landscapes hanging askew, as if knocked off balance by the aftershock. I found her in the kitchen: breakfast abandoned, minutes dripping away, tremors still pulsing in her face. Our conversation scrambled uneasily over the day’s events and I reached out to steady her, as certainties slipped beneath her feet, feeling for her hands that shredded the letter, its pieces falling to the floor, like flakes of bone.
Though you do not see me, I’ve been by your side, leaving home the moment you phoned. I’ve been sitting here, tethered to time by a clear plastic line, each tear-drop second hanging, hanging, before it drips, draining minutes into hours and days. I’ve left today and tomorrow kicking their heels outside, though I told them not to wait. I’ve watched you usher silence in, which has no cotton-wool words to wrap you in; no sentiments to treat your fears that swell and spread unseen, unchecked. They call your name; you do not take my hand but walk in on your own, not looking back.
‘I am what you designed me to be. I am your blade.’ (Charles Dickens)
Their boy crosses the divide, strays into the wastes of your estate, where leather laptop bags, smart-arse phones and uni scarves belittle and abuse. At first his flesh resists, unyielding as the pulp of fruit fallen too soon from the tallest tree. You thrust it in again, harder, drop him to his knees, rip open his lips in silent surprise, feel his tomorrows spill across your hand. You’ve left your mark, carved your initials in entitlement’s bark with the blade they made, tempered with rejections, sharpened with sanctions. You’ll take their cuts no longer, you’re the one who makes them now. You’re the headline hit-man, the media sensation, yesterday’s discard, today’s ‘Most Wanted’.