for Edmund Hardy


if we are seen by the world
small brown birds
finding themselves
making friends with hawthorn
hedges pluck buds
twist pearl on thorn blossom
pricks christen me nancy
why didn’t you name me
name me nancy
writes poetry in secret
writes about gym pants
but I never write
(bookworm promises)
(crossing fingers at the origins)
never until
mos and myre with clot and clay will cling
mos and myre with clot and clay will cling
mos and myre with clot and clay will cling
never until my accent
stretches to meet the premise of these chronicles

schooled in whose chronicles my own
heart skewered in whose gardens
I watch from the window
triśūla break lilac tree
liberate leaves
like heads heads like friends
old school ties
skew the whole world
cleave what must clag
keep porridge oats in lockets
(who loves you baby)
potatoes in bigger lockets
(who stomachs you baby)
my own sweetheart
assimilation cringe
slubbering in the peel
feeling up the wall
separating instances of not
not racist and not racist but
try denting the wall the view from the window

I close my eyes
to change the weather
as moonstone must
be seen to sing with spite
lappered thick
and filthily stinked
oh dirty feet blood-clotter
oh grease monkey clod-hopper
oh cloud-devourer spit
out the tricks of the light
out the dreams of bookworm-in-bothy
outwith the hawthorn hedge
spiteful the noise
made by privilege
when boiling over
mess made by ejected oats
bitter the blout
breaking off the storm
it slushes the need for change
anothering blood rush out with force

half melted snow in the booth
foul the confession
every stage is a toilet
every reading a pot
for covering sounds
sounds like pearl return to clod
like talking about difference is
gludderly work
imagine a blue-sky brocade
shawl draped across
history’s jelly slub
imagine white granite scaffolding
clatty lapse reactions
time sleekit to the touch
repetition transports
I start again
at the shared oranges of poetry and myth
my lubberly and delicate
common or garden variety
skin is no admission if what must be seen




This poem is taken from Nisha Ramayya’s debut collection States of the Body Produced by Love published by Ignota Books this month. Don’t miss Nisha Ramayya in conversation with Eley Williams at TANK magazine in London on Wednesday 2 October. Tickets here.

Photograph © Kevin Dooley

Love After Abuse