Author: Michelle Madsen

Not the right season for Nisse

in Poetry

Michelle Madsen is a writer, theatre maker and investigative journalist. She has performed poetry on four continents and is a regular at Glastonbury, Latitude and the Edinburgh Festival. She is the host and creator of the world’s only poetry panel game, I’m Sorry I Haven’t Haiku. She investigates fraud and corruption and has written for Private Eye, the New Statesman and the Independent. She trained in devised theatre at Lispa in Berlin makes guerilla, political, darkly comic shows with her company Bait. Her debut collection Alternative Beach Sports is published by Burning Eye books.

Not the right season for Nisse

I hate to say she’s managed to land in
The wrong country, that as the crow flies
She’s about 30,000 nisse hours away from
Anyone who believes she exists, so I just sit
And watch her try to push unspeakable gifts
On unsuspecting children in the playground.
One well-fed looking kid, with meaty fists for hands
Grabs her red hat and dumps it on his blond
Head. Hey! I watch her mouth say, but her voice is
Very small and never mind that it’s hot even for July
And the hat is a huge woolly hive which would make
You sweat, even in Lapland. I shake my head
And concentrate on swinging higher, high
Enough to touch the sun with my feet. When
I land on shaky legs and get over the dizziness,
The sun blindness, my little pal is gone.
I see the blonde kid with the red hat in his hand
And use my superior height to wrest it from him.
I sit on the park bench on a pile of newspapers
And try to ignore the sticky layers that
Want to cling to me. I could have kept my
Eyes open and told her that some of us are grateful
In the end, but I’m sure she’ll have guessed the same
So I sit back and let the heat wash over me,
Let the red of my sweat cool my cheeks.

from Alternative Beach Sports (Burning Eye)

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