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What I Didn't Know Before by Dean Atta

after Ada Limón

Our love will die

if it is not watered

with compliments

and gratitude.

The bird in our garden

is a great tit.

The way to change

gears on a bike

to make it easier

to go uphill.

To be gentle

squeezing the breaks

going downhill.

The difference

between a coot

and a moorhen.

You teach me

to recognise

that white shield

on a coots' head.

I teach my niece.

Now, when she says,

‘Look, a coot!’

She points to

our love,

gliding on the water.


Dean Atta’s debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. His novel in verse, The Black Flamingo, won the 2020 Stonewall Book Award and was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, The Diverse Book Awards, Jhalak Prize and YA Book Prize.


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