Poetry | Tom Bailey

Variations on a Theme by O’Hara

How did you get up here, Leaf?
You are three storeys above the ground
and floating outside my window.

How are you
so high without any wings?
You are brave, Leaf.

I see you, with your thin spine
and your spidery veins
that weave through your skin like a river’s delta.

What are you doing here?
What do you mean
by being here with me?

You are so little, Leaf, and so leafish
that I wonder how your being here
makes me happier

than the idea of you falling from a tree
or having fallen
or being about to fall.

Tom Bailey is a 20 year-old poet from London and an English student at the University of Cambridge. His poems have been published by Agenda, Sentinel, Acumen, Cambridge Notes, Allographic Press, and Off the Block (forthcoming). He is also editor of the St John’s College Poetry Pamphlet.

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