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Small Witness IV – A poem from Antonia Taylor


As a child life happened in summer. Whole years passed in salt & shade.
When the drought came, you found God leaking from the tap outside,
picking up the past from his pocket, spitting apricot stones, a peace treaty.

You kept the war of dirty hair secret & lately memories come like bullets.
Forgetting is not native to you. You run from it, empty its half-language into a dried well.

Your daughter’s sleeplessness becomes yours, a reverse inheritance.

Become the forest floor, the frozen fountain, in the country
where they disappeared the trees.

It’s a lie that the sun always rises. Last March you woke early to clear darkness
from a wet sleeve. Belonging doesn’t pass through the female line.

It always comes back to a gunshot.

You can wear carelessness like a cast-off shirt. It returns every year like a military parade.
You try not to die from the gleam of it.

Translate this: 1,500 persons missing on both sides. The women still wear black
& die most days.

About the poet: Antonia Taylor is a British Cypriot writer, communications expert, and poet. Her work has appeared in Propel, Ambit, Harana, South, New Contexts, Blood Moon Poetry, Marble Magazine, Dear Reader, and Indelible Literary Journal. She lives in Reading, with her family.

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