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3 poems by Vahni Capildeo

Walk #1

Now is the time when the mapepires are mating. They are thirsty and they are vexed.

The leaf trash on trails is cool and full of daytime sleepers ready to sss.

Faded and vivid triangles.

I can’t keep track of who is talking to each other.

105 mls per bite. Like a glass of orange juice.

Or who isn’t. Who isn’t.

Walk #2

If you walk slowly, I’ll have further to run.

If nobody has abducted you, I’ll double back to meet you.

By the tulip tree – No. By the hospital – No.

By where long-ago ladies with flambeaux sold roast corn and boiled corn,

also No. By the baobab? By the pretty and stink cannonball tree?

No. No. – You don’t walk very slowly.

Before raper-man corner and the gingerbread house.

You’ll double back and meet me. A red seed in my hand. Grey beads round my neck. You had further to run.

Walk #3

This week, the wheel of white-violet days has been dropping. Velocity burns. Wheel, turn. The doves have not landed on the roof, no, their clever feet have not splayed or clung along the ridges; the red tiles, unpractised at being scaled, retain heat, while undisturbed. The doves continue wheeling – I have seen them – rising like a dust of sublime objection by the very wealthy or the very young, able to get up and leave the chamber. Where will they land, and when? The church has lost the blue statue from its louvred window, the shops cleared out their garden furniture, and toys are sent for by air. Send me then someplace tiredness must fill my feet, high up, maybe the abandoned tracking station. I am no satellite. There is no moon.


Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidadian Scottish writer inspired by other voices, ranging from live Caribbean connexions and an Indian diaspora background to the landscapes where Capildeo travels and lives. Their poetry (seven books and four pamphlets) includes Measures of Expatriation, awarded the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2016.


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