Metastasis – Tom McLaughlin

Why does everything go wrong for me?

Tom McLaughlin is a Northern Irish poet currently living in London. His poems have been published in Birds Piled Loosely, Pulp Poets Press, and Crossways. He recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway.


You are having trouble unfastening 

the complicated toggles on your new coat.

‘Why does everything go wrong for me?’

I wonder if you think about staying

inside your new jacket from now on. 

My father helps you like a fussing mother

as I decorate the Christmas tree,

fastening a threadbare string of tinsel

to branches already shedding needles.

I concentrate on making even loops 

between the branches. I unravel 

the mess of fairy lights inside a box

to discover that they do not work.

I peer into the centre of each bulb 

to check each tungsten filament – 

which is broken, which are intact.

Tom McLaughlin

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