The Escape Artists

Everyone explodes in the end.

That’s what they told him,
scrubbing blood and supple gut hunks
from the walls of the neighbouring cell.

The turnkey whistled a maddening tune
as he dunked his brush in the soapy bucket.
Suds rolled down brickwork like a beard.

You’ll feel it first in your fingertips,
they said – whorls throbbing in the night
like spider’s eggs. The swelling. The ache.

Inside every prisoner
there’s a bloody skeleton
straining to get out, to grin

at its steaming cockpit of offal
before it collapses,
empty as a birdcage.

Grey water oozed
down the jailer’s knuckles,
over a shining cyst.

Everyone explodes in the end.

If you enjoyed this, it’s not inconceivable you’ll enjoy my debut collection, Pub Stuntman.

You may also like my spoken word album, Jesus Buys Me Cigarettes. Please consider supporting the tanking dirigible of my career by purchasing one or both.