Nick Reading

Twyckenham Notes
Issue Fifteen
Spring 2022

The Child’s Profundity

I don’t know what time is. 

I’ve never been a boat. 

When you yell I picture a chimney. 

The bath is warm like pudding. 

I dreamt I was a ball. 

I don’t want to say I love you too much. 

Eyebrows don’t seem to do too much. 

Whenever I’m quiet my head is loud. 

Once I saw a fish floating. 

The garden mostly grows worms. 

Today is as long as the world. 

You only cry happy sad. 

When I move my hands like this – 

Papa, look. Look, Papa. 

The Odds

It would seem a smart wager 
to bet love will skip town again 

having just shared lunch with you 
and a nice walk on the beach 

sipping Chablis. You cannot trust 
Chablis. There goes love now,

teeth in their waistcoat pocket. 
Love even took your scowl

and your favorite scarf used 
as a tourniquet for a neck wound. 

You hug the wounds close. Moon. Waves. 
All that stuff that makes you kiss 

like a bee goes deep into the flower. 
You don’t even think to say 

goodbye and doubt 
you’d have said it if you did. 

You say now, See you later, 
and never plan on it. You win. 

Stupid love on a boat 
down some river you name 

Stupid River. Love will be sad 
it left you. And you will be happy. 

Whatever you bet – passion, spite,
pity and things like that – you have 

in droves. What you wanted. 
Until one afternoon fixing 

a flat in the rain thinking life 
is done with its meddling 

a car pulls up next to you 
rolls the window down 
and a stranger smiles. Says,
I’ll take everything you got. 

NICK READING  is the author of Love & Sundries (Split Lip Press) and The Party in Question, winner of the Burnside Review Chapbook Contest. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in New Ohio ReviewMid-American Review, Cortland Review, Painted Bride Quarterly and others. Visit him at

Cover image by Sarah Louise Wilson.
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