(Commissioned by Glastonbury Festival and originally published here.)

Our campsite is caught 
in a kaleidoscope of sound
from the five surrounding stages.

The thumping bass line
from the DJ by those trees
rumbles the ground under me,
vibrating through my mattress,
pulsing through my pillow:

a hardcore lullaby,
a Glastonbury cradle
rocking me to sleep. 

Ordered Liberty

A coupling poem incorporating text from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organisation decision.

Next, the Court examines 
our bodies like nesting dolls, questions
whether the right to 
hold ourselves hollow is still ours, for to
obtain an abortion is
an excavation of space they claim. The Court is
rooted in the
violet ache of our wombs, seeding this
Nation’s history 
through our Fallopian tubes with God
and tradition and 
hungry fists. Next, the Court asks
whether it is an essential 
function to be free, since a core
component of 
having this body is having it seized, this
“ordered liberty.” 
This clenched holiness. This bleeding rip.
The Court finds 
us sinful and flippant, finds
that the right to
ourselves is ‘too much,’ determines
abortion is not 
a native son, not a good soldier 
deeply rooted 
in red, white, and blue, not trained
in the Nation’s 
battle tactics, not fluent in its proud
history and tradition
of planting flags in every land it does not own.

Terza Rima for Braiding Your Hair

(For KM)

In a dream last night I braided your hair.
First I chose the plastic comb, began at the ends,
split and frizzy, gathered them with care

and slowly separated the fragile threads, the teeth bend-
-ing slightly at the snags, the stubborn knots
rough and clumped. As a child I’d pretend

the tangles were tiny snakes that clasped each other and got
caught. Slowly I teased them out, worked through
each snarl like it was a nasty thought,

as though this act could help to soothe,
coax some easy neatness into you, bring peace
beneath your frazzled scalp. Next I drew

a line across your crown, picked a piece
running temple-wide, divided it in three.
The simplest stitch: cross right over left, release,

select again, left over right, repeat. Weave 
in sections from the sides, catching every strand
as you descend. A pattern worked into me

over years, muscled into my hands,
now worked into you. Finished, I tie
it off with a blue bobble. In my dream you stand,

reach back to feel the ridges, kiss my
cheek, and breathe deep, your mind a lullaby.

Follow Katie Ailes on Instagram or visit her website.

Click here to read our exclusive interview with Katie or find more articles under the category heading ‘Poetry’ on our homepage.

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The Glasgow Review of Books (ISSN 2053-0560) is a review journal publishing short and long reviews, review essays and interviews, as well as translations, fiction, poetry, and visual art. We are interested in all forms of cultural practice and seek to incorporate more marginal, peripheral or neglected forms into our debates and discussions. We aim to foster discussion of work from small and specialised publishers and practitioners, and to maintain a focus on issues in and about translation. The review has a determinedly international approach, but is also a proud resident of Glasgow.

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