Nina Bahadur (Third prize)
St Paul’s Girls’ School, London
It starts off straight.
You are well-mannered, a fish of a boy,
Cool in redbricked streets baked between lines
Marking us in and out.
In a choked café with tiled walls and the curtains closed you tell me
I like shapes of your legs in the dirt
And running circles round you
And your godhonest heartbeat and that’s enough for me.
In black and breathless nights
I take your wrist, and I kiss, and the stars
Are just pedestrians and the frantic sun
A bystander in the grand scheme of things that is us.
We blaze on through the dust
And burn in every bright afternoon.
When the storm breaks the land learns to drink
And for blurred August weeks we’re sewn in by the rain.
When it’s all hung out to dry
Words drip from my lips, unsaid, I’m drowning,
And glass sunken in old windows makes the world
Seem a little stranger.
All autumn steam rises:
Washed out by the downpour, I let you go.
But there’s a pale reminder cross-legged on your lawn,
Your flickering morning memory, like light on scales,
Of gasping for air, of skin on sheets.
- Date February 9, 2015
- Tags 2008 Change - Winning Poems