Lands

The recently self published poetry collection Lands follows Jemima Khalli’s experiences as a woman of colour with a startling and occasionally brutal truth. The following three poems come straight from this collection, posted without commentary – as these words speak entirely for themselves.

 

i changed my name

so it would sit comfortably

on your tongue

so you wouldn’t have to twist

curl and snap it

trying to pronounce each consonant

each vowel

my mother gave to me

baby

please don’t cut yourself into

halves, eights and quarters

it makes it harder to hold you

– ethnicity

there is an awareness

within us

of one another

tying eyes

when we cross footpaths

and sinking into where we are

– women of colour

 

before we were born

sounds were stitched

across our bones.

sounds from people

who have lived before us.

who wanted to.

needed to. tell us of

troubles we will face.

they placed each sound

carefully. not to clothe

us in fear but

to protect us. to reassure.

to warn. and now our

bones are shaking.

one day

men will realise

they too

gave birth

and they will notice

scars

where they removed

their child

– to all fathers/future fathers

Words & Images: Jemima Khalli