Due to a series of ill judgements on my part

by Joe Dunthorne


my son lies asleep in a tin sandwich box
inside the knapsack of a man
deep within the Cayuga salt mine’s
corridor of teeth where there’s the sound of what
in my son’s dreams he takes to be
our neighbour’s cough but means, in fact,
they’re blasting new seams in the caverns
beneath the man who now, ravenous,
peels the misted clingfilm and only slightly surprised
to find the naked child – limbs folded, neat
as travel cutlery – thinks whoever let their son
be wrapped up for a stranger’s lunch
does not deserve to keep him, crunching down
on the still-soft bones and it is only as I hear
the man’s involuntary noises of pleasure
rising from far beneath the earth that I remember
no, my son is in the back seat
and that is just the sound of him snoring, head loose
on his neck, terribly alive, as the wheels
of the car on the salted tarmac
deliver us both to soft play.