The Minister for Loneliness
By Kevin Higgins
First day behind my hugely plausible new desk
I will begin making secret cash payments
in paper bags that smell of donuts
to all citizens – upstanding and not – on the strict
condition they sign this twelve page contract
agreeing to henceforth avoid the likes of you.
On my watch the only job you’ll get
will be nights guarding the hugely valuable
glass and steel of an empty office block
in a city where no one wants to know you.
Romance, for you, will consist of regular visits
to the launderette in the hope
there’s someone there to talk to.
But even the lip-sticked lady who sits there
most of most days, crocheting
tea cosies and sharing her arthritis,
will vamoose when she sees you coming.
I will make sure
you have no missed calls,
nothing in your in-box,
and get no letters, not even a curt epistle
from your soon-to-be ex-wife’s solicitor.
You’ll be a sparrow
chirping madly for a missing mate
long since safely
in the jaws of the cat
who answers to me.
Your existence will shrink until
you and your pet mosquito are the sole tenants
in an otherwise boarded up block that looks out
on the radiant windows
of those determined not to know you.
Song of Songs 2.0: New & Selected Poems is published by Salmon and includes a substantial number of new poems as well as selections from his six previous poetry collections. Click here for more information.