Modern Saints & Sinners With Their Attributes by Emma Simon

Modern Saints & Sinners With Their Attributes

It’s always the same, those double-D breasts
paraded on a plate before her, like risen loaves.
Who cares she’s now traded dishwater blonde highlights
for a BA (Hons) degree. They serve as exposition
on an ageing track-suit clad body,
sans silver bikini.

Martha’s no better: domestic deity transfigured
as clay-foot tax dodger. Her silver soup spoons
will jangle forever, like bells against the jailor’s key.
Weep your seasoned tears for her, a soul adrift
in a flood of kitchen accoutrements,
drowned by its own greedy torrents.

And our own 50-foot woman, Barbara.
Who can describe her awesome frame
without a mobile phone flung
in a lightening storm? The heartbeat too long
wait for thunderclap regrets. This once-seen flash,
blinding as camera bulbs, now shadows her every move.

Bask in the smile of Apollonia, that gold tooth
buying her a notch above other black-eyed rappers.
Not that she flashes it much these days,
with the divorce and law suits. And poor Ronnie
the likeness of her married lover imprinted
for eternity in stains left on her plus-size dress.

Even Katherine, cartwheeling on the lawn
of her good fortune can’t escape.
The spokes of her legs held up
as textbook exemplars, for all they kick
against a magisterial sky, its judgement hanging
like the vindictive sun.


Emma Simon has had poems published in a number of magazines, including Obsessed With Pipework, Bare Fiction and The Interpreter’s House. She was an active member of Jo Bell’s 52 project, and this year is one of the poets selected for the Arvon/Jerwood mentoring scheme. She lives in London where she also works as a freelance copywriter.

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