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2 poems by Clementine E Burnley

In our country we are the quiet ones

Even when she sets off first,

she's in my ear.

My mother’s sounds are high and fast and loving.

She is the ursine prowl of night.

More sensed than heard.

A bat pollinating strings of mangoes.

An elevator








A bullrushes’ nod.

A solitary bee’s whine.

Vivacious, my mother, loud the crunch

of icebergs between her molars.

A beach in Mauritius calling child,

you nuh come home since long.


Embassies set the evidence

alight. Do we, undocumented, exist?

Death-stalked, shall we

like mudskippers, abandon the sea

to nest in the trees?

Mangroves learned

the hard way, in the last mass extinction.

They left the land,

creeping from inland forest

halfway into the sea,

turning topsy turvy into the tides,

holding up roots above the soil.

What better way to survive

a flood than by drowning?

What does we owe to one

who still warms his hands

over the embers of our house?


Clementine E Burnley is a Cameroon born British poet, writer, mother and trainee

psychotherapist. Her most recent work can be found in Magma Poetry, The Poetry Review,

and Writers Mosaic.


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