The night is my mirror

A little chapbook to end a year that has been challenging in so many ways. This collection of poems came from the long months of lockdown and silence. The poems are personal and were hard to write. I hope you can connect with them in your own way.

Write to for your free PDF copy.

Warm wishes for a better, hopeful, safe and healthy 2021.

A connection between soles

All the inversions: friday night and I set a
memory on a skin of spilt beer, feet touching
feet, head two body lengths away, unseen,

suddenly truth is a connection between soles.
Every morning for twenty years, mama took
three buses to work. The radius of childhood,

measured by wheel on wheel on a clouded film
of yesterday’s rain. Which wheel is real when
we talk of the past? Later, putting me to sleep,

the night reflected in her tears: two formless
skies collapsing into one. A false singularity.
Darkness, a perfect mirror of darkness.



Image by Omid Armin (Picture prompt provided by Visual Verse)
First published on Visual Verse (Vol 07, Chapter 4)


Finally sent something out this year and am glad it found a home. Visual Verse has great picture prompts and I love ekphrastic poetry but it also pulls together a gorgeous contributor page ! Just realized I’ve had 14 poems published there!

All The Things

all the things broken, things we broke,
we connect with words
see that row of body bags
see that crying child, another, another,
our poetry is knitting them together
later when it snows
we will wrap our toes in long sentences
and tell ourselves it will be a white Christmas,
see that person kneeling
see that extended hand, another, another,
we have prayers and chants to exalt them
later when it rains
we will cover our heads with ellipses
and tell ourselves it will be spring soon,
even the graves
will be buried
under the wild flowers.

There Are Mirrors Everywhere

Thirty six degrees in the late morning, the sun acrid as mother
squints into the sky, as if expecting Lord Yama* himself to descend

on his black buffalo. Surely, there would be death, already, the hot
air was reeking of burning flesh. Yesterday, a mirror broke, fell from

my hands and multiplied its shiny self. An omen so evil, mother,
while ironing her silken mourning clothes, planned atonement and

appeasement, the priest was summoned and people and bovines,
known and unknown, were fed. Look, I showed her, I did not splinter, I

have eleven heads now and twenty two breasts, I have been reborn
from eleven wombs, my navel unbloodied. Later, breaking bread and

vows and lines, I saw myself reflected in another’s eyes. There are mirrors
everywhere, mother, waiting to blink, mirrors black as a buffalo’s back,

that can shatter your being, mirrors that trade fragments for a truth,
barter eleven promises for one unblemished soul. That night, we

gathered arms and lips and thighs and omens from walls and floors,
making ourselves whole, the hot air already reeking of burning flesh.




*The Lord of Death often depicted with his mount, the buffalo.

Myself From Myself

disappointment is raw sky
before it paints its face innocent blue,
where the blackness sears your eyes,
a fire that you cannot see or put out,
where you grasp the stars so you will not fall,
how many points do they have?
why do they gash and cut my palm, leaking blood
that will not leave my body?

disappointment is seeing the moon
strung from hooks and steel cables,
a falsehood made of recycled dreams,
how many hopes were pinned on a piece
of dented aluminium glitter?

in the back streets of the city where
the asphalt and trees have an unwashed
mediocrity, the crows look tired and ashen
and the cats are mangy, as if they would rather
starve than eat the tasteless gutter rats-
from there to the top of the mountain
is a million steps, the only way to rise
is to cut strips of yourself, unburden
yourself of yourself as you go, and yet
tonight, reaching the top, flat and empty, 
my head half-buried in the undressed sky,
seeing reality lie after lie,
was it all for nothing? but wait,
you can prise out sunbeams buried 
in the dirt and slide down 
to where you began,
but there is a question, a ticket clerk
at a half-window, bemused, asking you
who you are, apparently there is a right answer
to exit purgatory and go back to the beginning,
to the foot of the mountain that
you cannot climb without ridding yourself
of yourself. 

i told him I was everything I wasn’t,
I wasn’t anything I was, and found myself 
back where I started, the mountain of 
doubt ahead of me, with nothing 
to give up that was or wasn’t,
unable to separate myself from myself,
disappointment is knowing the end
and still starting that 
journey to hell, again.

Micropoetry Month: Nov 2017: #4

Micropoetry MonthElaine Patricia Morris who writes at Watermelonseeds introduced me a couple of days ago to a form called ‘Naani’. This is a four line poem containing 20-25 syllables invented by an Indian poet, Dr. N. Gopi, who writes in the Telugu language. I did some hunting and found parts of an English translation of the book he wrote called Naneelu (The Little Ones).

So with a hat tip to Elaine and Celestine Nudanu, here’s my first shot at this new form!
Share your micropoem (of any size, shape or form) through the comments section or Mister Linky!


Nothing is random,
not even thoughts.
Last night I imagined we were talking,
now this.


Aren’t we little gods
with our little universes,
our secrets imploding
like stars within us.


The smell of new rain
on old parched earth,
stirring all that we
forgot to remember.


Everything we don’t know
fills the sky above,
I feel your fingers
tighten around mine.


It’s a race to the finish
between climate and war,
who will tell the girl
poised on the hopscotch square?


Still a Weed

there she was, reading a Murakami,
the light arranging itself carefully around her young
shoulders, iced tea sweating, waiting for no one,
expecting no one, no phone, no ring,
just a fragment of consciousness filling the now,

I let the years run through my hands like grain,
knowing I had seen too much, seen nothing,
and somehow they were both the same,
you see, a weed that survives the storm
is still a weed, maybe there were warnings, little wind chimes
that repeated requiems in every breeze, but I wasn’t listening,
not until I had heard too much, or heard nothing, and
both began to sound the same, all this time,
as if we have been walking too far, too much,
always reaching a fork, always taking different paths,
still walking together, walking apart,

I can see her, the draft from the air conditioner
pulling her hair, shifting slightly as she turns a page,
she reads slowly, I say to myself, trying to forget,
a book that survives that pace is not the same book,
as though I remember everything, remember
nothing and somehow here, alone, reading together,
reading apart, both feel exactly the same.

Horribly Us

it is the sound of us falling,
an intense dissonance punctuating the wind,
falling through an impossible column of mirrors,
each distortion magnifying our own,
horrifying us, horribly us,
it is the sound of us falling
upwards like inverted rain,
reflections screaming as we laugh,
phantasms chortling as we weep,
the sky breaking into puddles
one for us, one for them,
one for them, one for us,
it is the sound of us falling
blinded by the warp of our truth,
not knowing where
it will end,
not knowing where
we will end,
terrifying us, terribly us,
reflections chortling
as we weep.


it fell from trembling hands
and shattered on the cusp of light
a thousand and one pieces of mirror
searching each other
with empty jagged eyes
multiplying absence

wasn’t it just the other day
the sky had fallen
with that same splintering crash
the sound of broken stars
and the audacity
of freshly shelled raindrops

that is the taste of prayer
scavenging bits of ourselves
stealing from forbidden landfills
creating perfect approximations
out of ill-matched fragments
two parts reflection, one part pain