You can’t sit there.
That’s reserved for nothing,
the candidate they voted for.
We keep it empty.
Lost tooth. Kicked down door.
You get the idea.
I don’t need to use poetry.
You’re blocking the light
of the invisible party.
They’ve told no lies.
They’ve never raised taxes.
You’re staring at the country’s
missing axis and you don’t
even know. Look harder.
You’re not looking hard enough.
There’s shape to all this absent,
undone stuff. Next time,
they’ll be canvassing instead of you.
Their promises are air.
There’s a lot you can do
with that.



Helen Mort lives in Sheffield. Her first collection ‘Division Street’ was published by Chatto & Windus in 2013 and won the Fenton Aldeburgh Prize. She is the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at The University of Leeds. Her website is



2 thoughts on “DAY TWENTY-THREE – Helen Mort

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