after Martin Carter
They enjoy talking in the dark.
They are just voices. With the power cut
his voice is air, warm, passing
over her ear – the ear is catching it.
They have no obvious bodies,
nor histories to set alight. They are,
both of them, black as the breath
of the universe, blank as the space
between stars. They are a part
of a crude darkness, the emptiness in
the unbelievable, in the shadowness
of the night. Even the street outside, gone.
And they are talking
about how they should go to Accra
in August, because Europe is nice
but nice gets boring. And one voice is
talking about how its body
craves heat – how, only in the heat
will that voice remember
that it has a body, begin to love
that body again. And the other voice agrees.
Though the other
has a body that’s from here – one
that doesn’t suffer
too much, in the cold. And so
that body lies here, warming hers.
And they are as safe from the news
as you can get, without light.
And they are as good as twins
in the womb, this night, in the unbelievable
in the shadowness.
(previously published in Litro #162)
Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a British-born Ghanaian poet and writer. A former Barbican Young Poet, her work has been commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts, in addition to being featured on BBC Radio 4. She was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2016, and is a fellow of the acclaimed UK mentorship programme, The Complete Works. Her debut pamphlet, Girl B, is part of the 2017 New-Generation African Poets series, edited by Chris Abani and Kwame Dawes. She is the creative director of Mother Tongues, a forthcoming intergenerational poetry, film and translation project supported by Arts Council England and Autograph ABP. Twitter: @victoriaadukwei