terms of rent

joshua clayton


I thought I was moving away 
from loneliness, but I was merely 
expanding its reach. I don’t bother 
to flush during the day. I swear

I’ve only drunk so far 
on single-digit afternoons. I don’t, 
if at all possible, like to leave 
the house, but I bus to burbs

for the supermarkets and the fresh 
faces who’ve never seen me 
sweat before over what’s buried 
in my basket. I’ve devised at least three

distinct methods for disposing 
of bottles. My pink heart bubbles 
in bed. One knee is showing signs 
of stress. My fingers hold less

and less blood. My sides spring 
like perfect dough. I long for concrete
grief, a death to test my skull on. 
Last night there was a bonfire 
behind the hedges. Smoking 
and crackling, I watched it, thinking 
of all the ways I never learned 
for how to get a fire going.

J Clayton holds an MPhil in English from the University of Bristol and currently lives in London. His writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in, among other places, CagibiAntiphon, and Gigantic Sequins.