Lewis Buxton reading Boy in Various Poses


A Boy Runs 


                 out of his lungs like they are a coat held by a parent at a school gate. The world around him is closing, the shops pulling down shutters as he turns into a cemetery where his heels push the dead further into their graves. He feels his weight on the ankle that crumpled beneath him months ago. He didn’t listen to the physio or do the exercises she gave him. He hoped he would heal himself, that in deepening the wound he would make it more heroic, grow back into the bruised ligaments till his breathing is a spooked horse again. Spittle rattles from his cheeks, the bit between his teeth worn away by worrying, the whip of a hundred fathers keeping him going, going, going.



Boy in Various Poses


The boy is an orange, an apple, a banana, a portrait by one of the Dutch masters, his armpit, a water lily, his dick, the sunflowers. He tries not to move so his twitch won’t break someone’s line. His back is arched so he won’t look so fat, so the light won’t catch his acne scars. They asked him to keep his shoes on, black leather boots beneath a body scuffed by living. He can’t see the sketches but feels the paint slipping down the stretch-marked canvas like beads of sweat from his temple. He feels himself up on the easel, cross legged & naked, his spit turned to acrylic, his peach soft skin, arsehole pink & dark as the pip.



A Boy Does a Magic Trick


            appears in a black suit & striped collared shirt, a new tie & shows the crowd his empty palms. There are doves in his pockets and aces up his sleeves. A rabbit quivers inside the hat of his heart. Boys know sleight of hand so people are always looking somewhere else as their houses of cards fall apart: pick a card, any card this boy says, vanishing into his own head, folding his fingers together like iron rings failing to escape the box he has locked himself in, and being dumped into the Thames. He is gasping but is so magic that no one comes to help him.



Born in 1993, Lewis Buxton is a poet, performer and arts producer. In 2020 he won the Winchester Poetry Prize. His first collection Boy in Various Poses will be published by Nine Arches Press in 2021. He lives in Norfolk.

28 April 2021