Our featured publication for July is Dusk in Bloom by Ava Patel, published by Prolebooks.
“There’s an extremely accomplished voice that runs through all these poems, tying them together
and ensuring they talk to and build on one another. It’s as though the reader’s been given the key to
a parallel universe where there are extra colours in the rainbow. The consistently engaging imagery
in this gathering is also used for emotional ends. These urgent, intimate poems discover many devastatingly effective last lines. A polished and sophisticated debut.” John McCullough
I can’t remember beer gardens
at that time of year
when the weather hits just right.
I can’t remember blue lagoons
or early morning chicken wing grease
that won’t budge from fingertips.
I’m never going to hear my name
as one syllable again or smudge my lips
with peach juice. No one new
will sit at the kitchen table with me
and make haikus out of the grocery list,
or sigh when I sneak pineapples
into the shopping trolley. Or go back to collect
the bits of me I forgot in beer gardens
and chicken shops. Nobody wants to wipe
peach juice from my chin anymore.
Saturday night, highbush blueberries cry for spring
until their throats bleed juice.
I roll them between my fingers
and dream I’m squishing them flat,
dream I’m crawling into their bushes
and living a two-dimensional life with them
as we wait for the season to change.
Our lives mingle and morph
as we rub and ripen one another,
slinking into fresh beings without the worry of suspicion.
Saturday night, the moon splits itself into quicksilver
and infects the highbush blueberries,
painting them glistening globes.
We sleep late and wake early,
wet our lips and arch our feet in anxiety.
Fear drives us to unravel our futures
and discard them into fjords
that swallow our plans with the Sahara’s thirst.
We can’t risk bleeding blueberry into the sea,
so instead, we sit watching the tide,
snapping elastic bands wrapped around our wrists.
undoing the seams of my skirt.
It seeps into the scratches running down my arms,
the gashes latticed across my face.
A heartbeat’s steps slink a song along the garden path,
and a body curved soft like a petal,
pink as a milkshake,
tender in its sighs and moans,
prickles under the sky’s stare.
Previously published in SOUTH magazine
A landslide brought me down into the depths of myself.
Foxes shrieked romance into the night
and I succumbed to an early morning start,
the streetlamps sputtering a wakeup call.
I spoke to the dawn tinged cats
as they chased their birds; I meowed to them my prayers,
keen for them to dismantle the paper aeroplanes
I had streaming through my head.
The planes had gone whoosh and swoop
and moaned that they were hungry for cheesy chips.
Clouds scented orange and coloured green
spaced themselves along my frontal lobe.
My nose led the way from one to another,
to a thousand set of myselves waiting to be unleashed,
the clamour of my beings brewing somewhere around, I’d say, my sternum.
And I’ve longed to have my appendix out for a long time now,
and almost prayed for a hospital’s walls, the sterile wards,
or a kind of upside down in between terrific dimension
full of electricity and cannabis and loose hinges and nuts and bolts.
Cats pilot my paper planes, sergeants on duty patrolling the night;
an outbreak of ornithophobia in the bedroom can be a real mood killer, you know?
Ava Patel is winner of Prole Magazine’s 2021 pamphlet competition with debut pamphlet ‘Dusk in Bloom’. She’s had some small successes being published in webzines (London Grip; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Atrium; Porridge) and magazines (South Bank Poetry; Orbis; SOUTH; Dream Catcher; New Welsh Reader). She runs an Instagram poetry page: @ava_poetics.
Dusk in Bloom is available to purchase from the Prole website.