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WORLD BUILDING by Lucy Whitehead

If years from now archaeologists excavate our life together

they'll uncover a entire culture, a civilisation.

They'll create a typology of our artifacts, the forks and knives

we selected that year we moved into our third flat,

the curve of them, the weight, the quality.

They'll reconstruct the chronology of our mug

collection, understand the stratigraphy of our lives,

find the cat and mouse mug my sister gave me when I went off

to university (the only one from a set of eight that's survived)

next to the cat mug that you won't throw away

which sits on the kitchen window sill,

handle broken, evidence of a lost era.

All the mugs we bought in pairs, the mismatched plates and bowls

we love. The ones with cracks that we mended and kept.

The expensive gifts we saved for best

at the bottom of the wardrobe, but never used.

When they guess at our culture, will they know about our made up

words, the facial expressions only we can read,

our customs like clockwork, the swift movement of hands,

meeting of eyes, our value systems a meeting of minds,

our rituals and traditions evolving like blossoming fruit trees,

roots reaching back through the years, anchoring me,

the Christmas Eve gammon, Friday ribs, payday takeaway.

Our two anniversaries.

They'll see the disability equipment, your overflowing shelf of

cookbooks, burgeoning spice rack, all the traces of the ways

you take care of me and then they'll understand

that we were an ancient warship, a warrior culture,

a battle cry.

WORLD BUILDING has been previously published in Twist in Time Literary Magazine and nominated for Best of the Net.


Lucy Whitehead writes haiku and free verse. Her work has been published in Amethyst Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Broken Spine Artist Collective, Burning House Press, Clover and White Literary Magazine, Collective Unrest, Cypress Press, Electric Moon Magazine, Ghost City Review, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Mookychick Magazine, 3 Moon Magazine, Neon Mariposa Magazine, Parentheses Journal, Pink Plastic House, Pussy Magic, Re-side, and Twist in Time Literary Magazine and in numerous international haiku journals and anthologies. You can find her on Twitter @blueirispoetry.

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