Hannah Linden, ‘How to tell if you’re in the wrong story’, (after Louisa Campbell)

None of the animals will talk to you.
Your best friend is not a cricket.
Your hair breaks when it grows below your shoulders.

The frog you kissed sued you for harassment.
Instead of being put in jail and having ‘an adventure’
you got community service where you fell asleep
during the powerpoint presentation and missed the bit
about how to find the magical talismans whilst picking up litter
and all you found was a pair of dentures and a half-full
can of lager which you were tempted to drink.

You can’t think in short sentences that fit
neatly onto pages any more. Weird
line breaks keep appearing

You’re not sure that a subscription to Netflix
constitutes a happy ever after, especially
after they cancelled your favourite show
even though the season ended
on a cliff-hanger. And the hero
is now getting too old to play
the part of the prince convincingly
even if they change their minds.

You’re not sure binge-watching
several seasons over a weekend
is, technically, being in a story.

That media studies course you went on
has played havoc with the meta-levels.
You keep being out there when you’re
supposed to be in here and that’s
not the purpose of stories is it?

Hannah Linden, with Gram Joel Davies, won the Cheltenham Festival Compound Poetry Competition 2015, was Highly Commended in the Prole Laureate Competition 2015, and was longlisted for The Rialto Nature Poetry Competition 2018. Her poetry has been published in varied magazines and anthologies, most recently with And Other Poems; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Amaryllis; and The Interpreter’s House and is upcoming in Magma, Lighthouse and Domestic Cherry. She is working towards her first collection, Wolf Daughter, which explores the impact of parental suicide. Twitter @hannahl1n


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