The mock turtle is all things to all men’
I’ll be standing at the bar
when you and your friends come in.
You see me, head down,
and I’m too shell to turn you away.
You want to slip me out
and feel me see me naked on the floor
without my own kind
of backbone, but my armour disc collection
doesn’t bend like that. I’m different because
that was the only way to be different at the time,
I needed to be more unturtley, less seaweed,
more oats and rye.
I am reptile in my taste in books, mammal in my music,
my scale hands cut bread and my skin ones open cans.
Evolving later doesn’t make you better,
it just makes you different, and if my closest relatives
still sometimes walk across each other’s tracks
then they must’ve been equally good
enough to make the cut for this programme we’re making
called the modern world.
So I’m standing at the bar
and when you come in I’m going to breathe and
I’m going to think very hard, and you’ll
think first and then breathe, and I’ll be going home
soon after because I wasn’t feeling
that kind of night.
unpublished poem, © Adham Smart 2019, used by permission of the author.