‘Caboose/Holy Sonnets X’ by Jack Underwood


Side A: Caboose

The driver’s hands sweat black juice and I never
see him eat. This caboose gets wider or shorter
depending on the way I’m lying. The gnats circle
above the latrine like they’re going down a plughole.
All the moths are depressed. I have a dead moth
for an ex-wife, is the running joke between the driver
and the moths. This ladder can only lead to the sea.
Its miles pour out of me like sand from a shoe.
I ask the driver how much further now? and he
repeats it like the moth joke again. He refuses
to learn my name. Did I show you my magazine?
I’ve read it cover to cover, memorised key parts.
The faces are wearing out because there’s nothing
else to read on here unless you like letters home.

Side B: ‘Holy Sonnets X’

O drunk DEATH, go home. We like our dying lives.
Go home, have a big glass of water and think about it:
I sleep in often. I waste my life like rain.


Jack Underwood graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design before completing an MA and PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and Faber published his debut pamphlet in October 2009. He also teaches at The Poetry School, co-edits the anthology series Stop Sharpening Your Knives and reviews for Poetry London.