everyone’s version of heaven is different

i’ve given up self-medicating
with fluffy toy dogs
and texts from sermonising men
who tell me the average person speaks
eleven million words a year
there isn’t really an average though
it’s their way of saying give me some
or three of your eleven million

just think by the time we reach our forties
the world’s got a couple of decades of xanax behind it
slumped in the corner with its hands over its ears
the world’s like any parent at the end of a village-hall party
burping up funfetti cupcakes
it’s not the world’s fault we all do it
trying to recapture sweet encounters
alice’s still smooshing cake into phoebe’s hair
and jj’s throwing wet toilet roll against the wall

all i truly want is the snake calling
to offer me his version of paradise
with fake white sand
a couple of scratchy loungers
and those big red apples on the breakfast bar
not a hint of flavour in them
but how they make me want to eat and eat



Elisabeth Sennitt Clough is the author of Glass (Saboteur Best Pamphlet Award), Sightings (Michael Schmidt Award), At or Below Sea Level (PBS Recommendation) and The Cold Store, forthcoming 2021. Her poems appear in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018, The Rialto, Poem, Mslexia, Wasafiri, Magma, The Cannon’s Mouth and Stand among others. Elisabeth is editor of the Fenland Poetry Journal. @FenlandJ www.elisabethsennittclough.co.uk @LizSennitt