DON'T SWALLOW THE PIPS

Sophie Clarke's poem provides a literal tribute to the old wives' tale that claims a swallowed apple pip will grow in your stomach. Illustration by Zoe Regoczy.

White as knuckles, shoots grip down
in soft pink beds. They plait thinly
over moist, warm organs, until I can’t tell
what is vein and what is root.

Twigs snap. Thick branches break
into the curvature of my ribs, my spine wizens
into trunk. A whole ecosystem heaves
under a canopy of lungs and leaves –

I fear I will be a laughing stock.
What use is a doctor with these ailments
I can’t speak of? My tongue is gashed
black bark, I choke on clumps

of mulch. And each morning I wake
to fistfuls of flora at my ears,
the miniature disaster of my nose
sprouting birdsong.



'Don’t Swallow The Pips' was published in Popshot's 5th issue, The Childhood Issue, which has now sold out. To ensure that you never miss a future issue of the print magazine, subscribe from just £10 a year.