You Do Not Approve Of My Out Of Office

By Claire Sosienski Smith

I say they no longer exist in the waking dream

of quarantine. Still, I change my automated message

to on annual leave, back on the 22nd, stay safe!


The only punctuation: commas and one singular

exclamation point, sticking out from my sentence

like the offshore windfarm’s red lights


blinking in the distance as I walk along the shore.

The sun dissolves entirely into the sea, which recoils

black and squat against the salty horizon.


Across the Atlantic, there is a boy with a shaved head,

nails trimmed short, riding his bike across town

face half covered with a homemade mask


beneath a sun that has yet to set. Sent my letter today,

this song reminded me of you. I return phone to pocket

and to a night marooned in the middle of a single bed.


Claire Sosienski Smith (she/her) is based in London and spends a lot of time thinking about poetry and prison abolition. Find her on Twitter @CLAIRESOS and Instagram @cyberwitch1996.

This piece is a part of DISTANCED 3.0.

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