Nigel Kent 

Tough Love

He lies out flat
along the bench;
his head lost in her lap,
feet barely 
touching the ground.
She leans over, wanting 
to plant her lips on his,
rouse him, like a princess
might in a modern fairy tale,
release him from
the spell of sleep,
but he’s no prince -
there’s engine oil
beneath his fingernails –
and though his eyes are
tightly shut,
he’s not asleep;
he’s hiding, 
like the child who thinks 
he can’t be found
by those he cannot see.
He’s hiding 
from that busybody, Time,
who’s intruded every day
since their first sight,
and who, despite his pleas,
declines to stop.

Doctor of the Broken Heart

“Claudine, 31,
slim, business-owning,
double divorcee
and incurable romantic, 
seeks soulmate
for wining and dining
and romantic evenings in.”

The perfect match!

He need look 
no further;
he liked his women 
rich and damaged,
so he could heal their pain
with his placebo love
sugared with flattery
and rose-petal fantasies
that they would swallow whole,
and marvel at the magic
of his medicine


the day they had 
to pay the bill.


I said he could have 
anything for our anniversary;
he asked for space.

I grudgingly agreed, believing
when stretched we’d snap
back together, closer than before,

but the gap kept growing
filling with drifts of bitterness
much too treacherous to navigate

and the thaw I waited for did not come:
there were no warm words
to melt the silence,

no spring flowers to mark his return,
and hope stayed low on the horizon
refusing to rise.

Yet still I find myself in the kitchen
listening for his key turning in the door,
and making enough tea for two.

Nigel Kent is a three times Pushcart Prize nominated poet (2019, 2020, 2021) and reviewer who lives in rural Worcestershire. He is an active member of the Open University Poetry Society, managing its website and occasionally editing its workshop magazine.

He has been shortlisted for several national competitions and his poetry has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and magazines. 

He is the author of: Unmuted, a collection of  ekphrastic poems (Hedgehog Press, 2021); Saudade (Hedgehog Press, 2019) his first collection; Psychopathogen, a pamphlet exploring the effects of the pandemic; A Voice and A Vision, a book of photopoetry in collaboration with photographer, Nick Browne; and two poetry conversations with Sarah ThomsonThinking You Home and A Hostile Environment (Hedgehog Press). His new chapbook, Benchwarmers, will be published in 2023 (Hedgehog Press). 

In 2021 and 2022 he was shortlisted for the Saboteur Award for Reviewer of Literature.

Flights, Issue Six, September 2022