A Chinese Restaurant Called Happiness 

The first time we met you asked how  

I’d be spending the night –  

a couple of Coronas, Lowry and Calexico  

if I remember it right  

that book – or was it a life? – of letters, poems, fragments.  


You let yourself out in increments.  

Best-liked Chinese dish here (sweet and sour prawns?),  

a painter there (Chris Ofili and was it Wassily Kandinsky?).  

The Beatles (White Album, George, your mother’s city).  


We stopped talking one day  

but we weren’t really talking by that stage anyway.  

Just pitting messages against one another.  

A channel between us and everything meagre, everything  


where you wanted honest fodder.  


The one time I flew over to visit  

I looked out of the window for the whole flight.  

Imagined all the living being done unseen, implicit,  

in each minuscule, framed, portion of sea. 

from 'Country Music' (Offord Road Books, 2020), © Will Burns 2020, used by permission of the author.

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Will Burns is a poet and novelist. He first came to prominence in 2014 as a Faber New Poet and has since authored poetry collections ...