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Outlaws once hid guns in violin cases. Under some regimes they are now doing the reverse.



G. plays the AK-47 beautifully.

The delicate tremor of bullets

reverberates deep in your chest.


It’s like a hymn to Sunday’s past.

D. knuckling up, whetting the axe –

for chopping, he says, with a sly wink.


We miss A. though. Her trigger-happy

fingers no longer tapping

coffin lids. C. has put the word out


to the sparrows among the mafiosi –

see whos squeaking.

We’re a broad church here


– or underground bunker –

we need the reinforced walls to hold in

the fury of B’s blunderbuss.


We know all the modes of dying:

pick out its grandeur and pity

with black crows strung up in snowy fields.



© Emma Simon

Picture 10475056, illustration from a Wurlitzer catalogue, 1924, image copyright Mary Evans



Emma Simon’s debut poetry pamphlet, Dragonish, was published by The Emma Press in March 2017. She has been widely published in magazines and anthologies, including The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House and Bare Fiction. She won the Prole Laureate Competition in 2013, and was third in the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition in 2016. In 2015 she was selected for the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring scheme.