‘The Unbelievable’ by Victoria Adukwei Bulley

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