Aji-ma કવિતા

Two plaits hang delicately

reaching the base of her fractured spine

four foot ten with the resilience of a mountain

which, like her, must erode

and transform with time

though, this is in the morning

before the daily-worn armor of tracksuits and trainers

before the plaits wrap and entwine

and create her crown of security and strength

she faces each day in each way it comes

ever-more aware of the cold, yet, still resting in the northern sun

layers intact

the garden swing sways with feet on chairs rested

long silences lead me to wonder what the right words are to say

so, instead we sit side-by-side and gaze at the horses across the stream

parent and foal

00

Renew

I am half

cast away the weighty envelope

into the crimson red box

once again

I must clarify recurring doubts

surely I am no less entitled since the three books prior

each with delicate gold lettering

bound in red, concealing a younger face

a birthplace

which remains unchanged, would you believe?

my third decade began in May

yet, question three accusingly asked how long I broke my stay.

I remember unpacking possessions with thirteen year old hands

east of Rotterdam, we created a home

three years lived within the Netherlands

The form I completed to the best of my knowledge

laboriously filled,

a pledge that I am still who you say I am

Nairobi?

Yes, this parent’s details are correct.

surely it should not affect the outcome of my little red book

if only they’d just carefully look, already

exceeding ‘standard’ waiting time

British citizenship was always hers,

as has it always been mine.

we are continually expanding

Dear Applicant

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One hundred and thirty seven pence

The landlord will not debate

Or differentiate

Between my twenty summers

And twenty springs

And others’ twentysomething winters

And their twentysomething springs

I pay my rent, but first

Pay my good mind as a labouring entity

The bottom line must be precise

It cannot afford recognition of like-for-like ability

Sustenance never fails to forget my birthday

I am worth one hundred and thirty seven pence more in May