A Poem by Andrew McMillan
Author: Poetry Editor
August 9, 2017
This week, a poem by Andrew McMillan.
take for example the boy opposite
his body like a river which has not yet gathered
the rain it takes to learn the limits of the self
are malleable a single unbroken curve
from the underside of his jaw to his spread legs
the things which age him at late teenage are debris
caught on him from someone else’s life the nose ring
the slight moss of hair on his arms and his stomach
as he takes a gym bag bigger than his torso
from the luggage rack oh to be that young again!
to have a body not yet dragged and creased by age
to be as slight and brief of flesh to be a man
without the heaviness it brings to be able
to feel where each of the bones meets the skin to still
be learning how deep the waters of desire
can run to be unafraid of drowning
ANDREW McMILLAN was born in South Yorkshire, England, in 1988. His debut collection physical was published by Jonathan Cape in 2015. It was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award; it also won a Somerset Maugham Award, an Eric Gregory Award and the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. It was shortlisted for numerous others including The International Dylan Thomas Prize, the Costa Poetry Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. Most recently physical has been translated into Norwegian and published by Aschehoug. He lives in Manchester, England where he lectures at MMU.