Snakeskin & Wild: poetry by Kandace Walker

SNAKESKIN

Let me know the taste                    of the air

on the street   where I was                   born.

Let me know the cool                      of the sea

down by where                  my mummy born.

Let me know the deep                of the earth

where my daddy born.     The fewer images

we have,                 the more we must make.

The more                                names we find,

more                                            we must seek.

The less we will know.         So many curses.

So little salt                                  at the door.

So far, so                   far from easy. I want to

whip-crack                       down the sky over

-turn your heads.                   I want to make

your animals bray,                       eyes rolling

with a reflection                       of something

like a sky.                 I want to burrow below

the epidermis,                                   like rain

through a forgotten window.       I want to be

something like a sky.               Something like

lightning.                     Something indivisible.

 

“Countries are a grave. But not a well. I keep on climbing” – ‘Wild’, Kandace Walker.

 

WILD

All you need to build

a house is a closing door.

Was I born in blue mountains

or black mountains?

Men scream insect-like

epithets because they want

to strip me down to bricks,

scatter me on a wind

that tastes like heather.

Only at night

is the sandstone so dark.

At dusk it looks like fire.

Redbone. Black.

As a kid I believed

the hills were named after us.

We don’t have to be right.

We just have to be OK

with never knowing.

A house or a home?

Countries are a grave,

but not a well.

Unpack home

from the suitcase.

Lay all of it at my feet.

The mountains were blue

beaten black. Name me

wild, name me fast.

Through the open door,

I climb and keep climbing.

Kandace Walker is a writer and film-maker. She passed much of her childhood in the Welsh Marches where she has now returned. She won the Guardian 4th Estate Short Story prize and is working on her first book.

Follow Kandace on Twitter @kandacesiobhan

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