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Poetry / Fee Griffin

'Jane!', 'Nan's Sofa Wins',

and 'Apocalypse and the Garden Centre'

Issue 1. February 01, 2021


I have to pull over on the side of the A153 to let the realisation pass

through me and all the windows I’ve had to open: there are as many

parallel universes as there are perceptions of us. And I laugh and laugh

with the cold plain yellow multiplying truth of it, and the complete lack

of black holes or other science fiction ephemera needed for this trick. I

don’t know why but it feels a lot like relief.  I start my car back up and

drive the rest of the way to work, where I run into Jane’s office and shout



She keeps one set of curtains closed most of the time so the sun can’t fade it. One set is opposite another. Both curtains and screen are noted in inches. Nan’s trousers are noted in inches. Like that she says holding out thick fingers and thumb leaving a 2.54cm gap. She eats items not available during the war and keeps good track of inches wherever they show up. Meanwhile the sun whose distance is measured in miles does not succeed in fading the sofa. Nan goes to the kitchen. Nan’s sofa stares at the This Morning sofa in its watt watt watt TV studio lights. This will not do. While Nan is out of the room Nan’s sofa uses some kind of neural upholstery network to inch the curtains’ shade towards the TV – this only makes it brighter. So gradually over twenty-five minutes Nan’s sofa develops extra-luminary powers and no matter what Nan does with the remote after that the brightness of the This Morning sofa goes down and down until it is no longer visible, not invisible so much avisible; a well-sprung and sudden black hole which tugs at the remaining light and inches into the room. The curtains flicker. The two canaries, both named for my dead grandfather, hush. Oblivious, the TV presenters balance like three-legged dogs on their luminous, resting haunches. A corner of something retreats. Nan’s sofa wins.


When the last garden centre is built

no-one will know it is the

last garden centre


of course

it will be built in a time when

building garden centres

is still considered a

reasonable response

to the

question of

being alive.

Shoppers will join the queue and


wholly or partly

by the

keyring stand featuring

the most popular

twenty-five names

of the preceding

five years and

minutes later

share their

death or survival

with others

still queuing for aspidistra

(double points.)

Poems from Fee Griffin's debut collection For Work / For TV  (Amsterdam: Versal, 2020). Visit Versal to purchase a copy.

Fee Griffin’s debut collection, For Work / For TV, was published in December 2020 by Versal Editions and won the inaugural Amsterdam Open Book Prize. She is a senior poetry editor at The Lincoln Review and has recent writing published or forthcoming in Poetry London, Hotel, bath magg, SAND, Streetcake, Peach Mag and other journals. She works part-time as an associate lecturer and part-time as a cleaner.

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