Back, Reflected
Hannah Lowe

Rucksack I’ve carried all my life. Naked,
it curves like a harp, or the fine pale handle
of my Nanna’s teacups – white bone china, saved
for best. Which man said my back was graceful?
I think a decade has gone since last I looked,
over the shoulder in the bathroom mirror.
Back I often forget I’ve got. The B-side
never got a look-in on my record player.

When Emmy massages my back, I hear
each knot call out like a musical note. Laptop!
this one sings. Bad poems! sings another.
What this or that man did. Deadlifts. Sorrow.
But this back, reflected back, won’t speak –
sleek and silent as a locked piano.

Hannah Lowe is a poet, memoirist and academic. Her latest book, The Kids, a Poetry Book Society ‘Choice’ for Autumn, won the Costa Poetry Award and the Costa Book of the Year, 2021. Her first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award for Best First Collection. In September 2014, she was named as one of 20 Next Generation poets. Her family memoir Long Time, No See (Periscope, 2015) featured as Radio 4’s Book of the Week. Two new chapbooks are forthcoming in May with Hercules Editions. She teaches Creative Writing at Brunel University. @hannahlowepoet

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