Nigel King

Applecore Sam Takes a Walk

Death takes Sam by the arm;
they promenade like Regency dandies
along the inner ring road.

Think of all the ways I could have you
says Death: a stumble
in front of a Ukrainian truck
its driver hollow-eyed,
five days out from Kiev;
a nail piercing the rotted sole
of your boot, the wound untended,
turned septic.

Death puts a hand on Sam’s shoulder.
He shrugs it off.

Why not choose a simple way?
A shop doorway on a frozen January night.
And you with so much less to lose than most:
that heart I clutched in the golf club bar,
that spine I snapped at the wheel
of a new Mercedes.

But Sam has halted and stands
near the market steps,
transfixed by a column of ants
bearing fragments of pizza crust
through a crack in a wall.

Death taps a foot, glances
at his half-hunter,
another time!
spins on his heel, strides off,
his silver-tipped cane clicking
towards the corner of Zetland Street.
Behind him
pigeons fall from the skies.


Nigel King lives in Almondbury, Huddersfield, but originates from the badlands of South Essex. Growing up there, obsessed with Science Fiction and unimpressed by Ford Cortinas or Margaret Thatcher, had a lasting influence on him and his work. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in: Poetry Salzburg Review, The High Window, Three Drops from a Cauldron, The Dawntreader and The Poetry Village. His first collection, What I Love About Daleks, was published in 2017 by Calder Valley Poetry.


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