Originally from Northern Ireland, Miriam Gamble lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Her collections are The Squirrels Are Dead (2010), which won a Somerset Maugham Award, Pirate Music (2014), and What Planet (forthcoming, May 2019), all published by Bloodaxe. She has been a mentor on the Ledbury Emerging Critics Programme and a judge on the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and the Saltire Poetry Book of the Year Award. Miriam also writes essays; recent pieces on Janet Frame and D.H. Lawrence have appeared in The Dark Horse. She was a 2017 International Literature Showcase writer.
The Holy Host in Spanish Art
Here, the carpets of heaven sink lower
than they do in other places.
At least once daily a foot will obtrude
like that of an upstairs neighbour
in a cheaply plastered flat,
and there are times you can barely
raise your body to its full height,
the kitchen suddenly quaintly Victorian.
Bang your pots and pans – they won’t
back off, and when you fill the kettle
they’ll have laced the water, such
that when that night you visit the baths
you grab the masseuse round the waist,
thinking she is some kind of chimera,
as her hands unmould the reefs of panic
in your neck, in your skull, spine, shoulders,
and an angry conger eel exits its haunt.