They have been born like this: in black,
fat-cheeked, with rolling pin arms
and tight, watchful eyes. They plant themselves
on stools along the hilltops, a squat of crows
who know that we’ll approach them from below -
that we will stagger up knees crooked,
that the heat will make our faces slack.
They nod to see us place our palms
across the sun to see them, a salute.
They let their daughters smile back -
those crops of tired women wearing blue,
rubbing shoulders or their mothers’ feet.
Their husbands build the hotels in the town,
men who smoke and spit and crease and dig
their heart diseases all day long, brown men,
men dirty white with dust, like bone.
The widows wash their daughters’ frocks
with hard soap, as if for the last time.
Miranda Cichy has been writing poetry for seven years, and was shortlisted for last year’s Eric Gregory award. She graduated from Cambridge University in 2009, where she was awarded the Brewer Hall prize for poetry, and now lives and works in London.