Two Poems by Todd Swift

20130114-110515.jpg Side A: The Language Of The Fan

Twirled one way, or pushed to the lips,
It means am engaged or a flirt.
Frail coloured ribbed expanding toys
Feel good in the hand as they grow
Or close across the face, to cool,
Convey, so one’s status displays
By the fluttered discipline of a wrist;
Otherwise, a dauphin might stoop to kiss
A lady-in-waiting not a baroness;
Mother-of-pearl; tusk; celluloid:
The sticks upon which paper furls
Are precious, even flammable –
How you tap your cheek spreads disgrace.
The whole fan might go up in one’s face –

Side B: My wife’s organ donor card arrives

in the morning’s post, so I become jealous
of those that could receive in disaster
her good eyes, take her liver,
give her lungs time to breathe.

I am envious to consider my love stretched
open to be emptied, for gross
bodies about to go like night back to day
lively by cold incoming light.

I confess, want to arrest this imagined death
to have those nimble, useful parts
to myself, able to hold on to
a bloody heart, her thinking lobes – still

properly encased in their rightful papoose:
tight skin of the original owner – alive
before shriven of what accidental caritas
so carefully in its loose carcass has given out.


Todd Swift, Phd, is Director & Publisher of Eyewear Publishing Ltd., based in England.  He has had 8 full poetry collections published, and has edited numerous anthologies, for the likes of Salt and Carcanet.  His poems have appeared in Poetry, New American Writing, Poetry Review, and Poetry London.

He is Senior Lecturer, in English, Creative Writing and Languages, at Kingston University.  His Poetry Archive page is

Todd Swift’s latest collection can be found here:

His blog ‘Eyewear’: