Our favourite poem by John McCullough is ‘Sleeping Hermaphrodite’ from his book The Frost Fairs (Salt Publishing).

We’re suckers for the power of a good line break, look at everything that happens between ‘toes’ and [pause] ‘honey’. That’s why we picked John to be an Astronaut poet!

Sleeping Hermaphrodite

Asleep? I’m watching you through my lids.
This isn’t easy, tracking your nebulous shape
while you assess my neck’s turn, slide
down to smooth cleavage, tummy, waist

then encounter what’s stashed below my thigh.
Here I am, unveiled as arguable,
a mishmash of harbour and ship—the stay
in thought when all ideas are possible.

I’m everything yet deeply ill-equipped
for solitude. What I need to know
is whether you ache to prise free

the ankle I’ve left loosely wrapped
in a sheet. Singlespeak is boring. Let’s talk toes
and honey. Come on, nosey boy. Surprise me.

(Here’s the Louvre’s version of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite … sweet dreams!)


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