This poem is the second-prize winner in the Golden Shovel challenge on Young Poets Network (YPN), judged by Peter Kahn. A Golden Shovel poem uses a phrase from a pre-existing text to make up the end-words for each of its lines. Find out more about the Golden Shovel form here.

Morning After

by Mathilda Armiger

A Golden Shovel after‘Party Piece’ by Brian Patten




forget it           how we cut flares like night steamers          the way we can clip and unclip


each other’s bright wires        worm our currents down to earth         our


tongues cracked static all over            chewing our minds


eyes open lips seizing fluoride &


glinting like meat                                                                                     let


me forget the colour behind your teeth        how you tumble 


open your mouth and free 


your humours like acid in a washing machine cycle                tight as ligaments             let me lose the 




ache and spit of parabolic skin                  mangled


limbs                      and the after       two milky crocodiles


soaking scumskinned on the calm of


 the ceiling                   thinking how, with all the letters we pulled out of the soup in my sternum                           i dared to spell                  love

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