Three Poems

Remi Graves


Tap Water
After Kim Addonizio

In my dream Theresa sends home
all of us whose parents were born elsewhere
says we are no longer welcome
threatens to fox hunt us across borders.

All of us whose parents were born elsewhere
hold vigils for the other place.
Lifetime long we light candles by the window
watch shadows dance in mourning.

Hold vigils for the other place
pray to stop the hardness
like London tap water and british values
from sticking to our insides.

Pray to stop the hardness,
or use its solid for brick building
a bridge to 400 years ago
and Cape Coast and Kingston

or use its solid for brick building
home in our bones,
vitamin D cell by cell
in this land of the sunless.

Home in our bones
the safest place
to build a fire


I need to sew everything
because i’m shrinking
says Ma grown old
in her Beckenham home
the hems of her clothes
flirting with dusty dust
on speechless floorboards.
There is no wifi in her house
but our conversations
limp from random subject
to random subject
like a back of the bus
21st century chat
spurred on by errant twitter feeds
and the cats of instagram.

Her laughs come from
recalling Pa’s old jokes,
ones she refused to notice
when he was alive,
now lets them set sail
across the emptied room,
white flags to loneliness.

On the days I visit,
I am a witness
to her speeches
in this vacant lot,
throwing spools like ‘mhhm’ and ‘really?’
to help patch up the holes
in this quiet portrait:
a life
un ravelling.


All photographs by Amelia Shivani Hassard.


After Sue Kwock Kim

My grandmother is
hard at work
renovating our Ghana house.
She guts the place
like talapia fish,
installs a new fridge
to house cokes and bitter
lemons. Lets a breeze
chase ghosts
from front door to back.
There are no stairs
only barred windows
that let the mosquitoes know
this is not their home.
A green damp climbs
the corner of the walls
and will not desist despite
fresh licks of paint.
She says nothing
of the rotting foundations.
Instead says this home
will house our futures—
but from where I’m looking
across two continents
and sea and more sea,
I’m not sure they’ll