Longlisted Poem 2013

Kitalya Reddy

Overton Grange School, Sutton, Surrey


Ceaseless is the sun,
breaking the backs of pious trees
who, snared by some falsifying hope,
wished only to seize the skies of their master
and claim it for their own.

Hooked to the limbs
spurting from these splintering spines
flock armies of dissident crows,
who squint blackly at all below
and swear there is no horizon.

So sullen swarms
of hapless blood-eyed beetles
burrow deep to build their own graves,
and weep into the mud,
wishing their fates were mapped out for them,
by those with bluer blood.

Above ground,
there walks a wanderer.
Her face is worn and wrinkled soft
like the pages of a favourite book,
her lungs are black, her lips are chapped,
and each leg has only one foot.

Her head
hurts.  She doesn’t know her name,
but she knows her prison number and
the smell of petrol
and how to say hello in French and
how to boil a kettle.

As she passes,
her fingers graze the bark of the trees
and interrupt their fervent prayers,
as they shudder from the sinner’s touch
and the dust she leaves in her wake.

She will walk,
like this, a piteous phantom,
wrapped in loss and immeasurable debt,
for she knows there is no horizon,
and the sun will never set.
© Kitalya Reddy

Project Details

  • Date January 10, 2015
  • Tags 2013 The Details - Longlisted Poems