Thought by Joanne Key

So I had a kick-around with the thought
in the garden for a bit. Not content
with that bit of sport, things turned nasty.

Of course, we’d all had a drink. Having flogged
the thought half to death with a cat-o-nine-
other-thoughts, I nigh on drowned it in rum.

The thought lay steeping, staring at me,
marinading and seething like a slab of living,
breathing meat. I added a spoonful of sugar

and a squirt of lime only to find I’d created
something so bittersweet I couldn’t stand
the thought of it. By this time, I’d had enough

so I flung it at the wall and it stuck. I left it there
and went to bed. After a sleepless night
worrying about the thought downstairs,

I woke to find it had grown to monstrous
proportions – a Thoughtzilla, of sorts.
It had squeezed itself into every room,

filling all the empty space like a giant
marshmallow. Its huge eyes followed me
everywhere. I was tempted to think of it

as the Mona Lisa, without the smile,
but I already had enough on my mind
and decided to leave that thought to one side.

Later that morning, I moved my chair
out onto the lawn, drank tea and watched it
sleeping. I studied it carefully.

It really was one big, ugly, mother-
thought. Slimy tentacles stuck out
of all the windows. It wore my house

like a hermit crab wears a shell. I must admit –
it wore it well, better than I ever could,
but as a last resort at flattening the thought,

I decided to run it over with a monster truck.
Just as I was revving the engines up,
the thought grabbed hold of me again.

It threw me off course and slipped away,
lumbering in all directions along the avenue,
jumping the fences of every dead end.

It shot off at tangents, trying to find the horizon.
I followed in hot pursuit. What else could I do?
I couldn’t leave the damn thing running loose.

Eventually, it ran out of steam and settled down
for a rest by the stream. I stumbled upon it
there, sleeping again. I sat under the apple tree

and hatched my plan. I was so angry, I rolled it
down to the foot of the hill and strapped it
to the railway line. When it woke, I almost

felt sorry for it as I watched it shrink to human form: a damsel in distress in an old film, struggling
against the knots, tied to a black and white backdrop.

It screamed silently for help. But it was too late, a new train of thought was already on the way and sadly I was driving so it was full throttle, no brake.

Joanne Key lives in Cheshire where she writes poetry and short fiction. Her poems have appeared in various places online and in print. She has been shortlisted in a number of international competitions and won 2nd prize in the 2014 National Poetry Competition.


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