Two Poems by Kerry-Lee Powell


The Wreckage

If all is wrecked between us, it’s because
a pair of wing tips on the other side of the world
closed in prayer to make this small breath,
like the breath of a child blowing a candle-wish,
that only gathered salt and squalls as it grew swift.
They say it often begins like this.
The ends of the earth are littered with our fragments
like flocks of terns on an arctic ice-cliff
or words on torn-up sheets of paper
in a language that I try not to remember,
spelled out again like moths around the flicker
of your face that often flares at me in strangers.
Look how I make the most of what’s at hand,
a match-girl out for kindling in a windy land.


Ship’s Biscuit

After mother scarpered
it was ship’s biscuit
with shrapnel sparkles.
It was hot spurts and gristle
and cold snaps with a wet towel
for stealing a puff from dad’s fag
or sneaking a peek at his titty mags.
But we buggers deserved no better.
It was us that made her run off,
with our bickers and our bungles.
It was our bloody cheek.
It was his bleeding knuckles 

Re-printed with permission of the publisher from Inheritance, by Kerry-Lee Powell, Biblioasis Press, appearing September 2014.

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Kerry-Lee Powell

Kerry-Lee Powell's work has appeared in journals and anthologies throughout the United Kingdom and North America, including The Spectator, The Boston Review, and The Virago Writing Women series. In 2013, she won The Boston Review fiction contest, The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for short fiction, and the Alfred G. Bailey manuscript prize. A novel and short fiction collection are forthcoming from HarperCollins. Inheritance is her first book.