Poems by Amara Antoinette



If it is sedentary birds who face extinction,
Then don’t all birds migrate?
Don’t all birds have wings to spread?
Don’t all birds warble their own migration song?

We are all birds by Aristotle’s resolve.
My grandparents were penguins so that I might be a hummingbird,
The beat of my wings is a song of redemption,
And isn’t that a migration song ?
Yes, all birds must migrate,
and isn’t that redemption ?


These four walls are Jamaica

Some child on the TV is doing something English again and we say,
“Imagine that? In this house?”
I imagine the bricks and mortar would dissipate.
Even they wouldn’t want to exist anymore.
But also, we are definitely English children.

On Sundays we have roast dinners with rice and peas,
And sometimes it does feel like these four walls are dissipating,
But I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.
Some things just are.

When Nanny, and Grandad made Maroons of themselves,
they didn’t know that there is nothing here that wasn’t already back home.
In a way all the pieces are the same.
There is something in the structure of bones,
The hollow of voices when you fold the unsettling into itself and hide it in a second tongue.
We have bitten it into halves and quarters but the first will not die.
We have always been the feature wall in this room of red and white and blue.
The history is in skin, and hair, and mouths that don’t know how to open.



We spit seed of today into the yolk of yesterday.
Baby bird pummels into being
Cock crows a cuckold cry of contingency
Existence splits the shell into continents
And the dawn sighs Handel’s chorus.

I often forget that bones excrete blood.
The sound of nanny cracking them between her teeth,
The sound of my brother sucking a mutton bone clean,
The two of them hollowing out bone to make themselves solid,
It is a reminder that ivory is blood currency.

We cannot tell which came first,
Mothering or the want for mothering.
But the way Daddy talks about his Aunt dissecting a fish head makes me think that fish eyes are a bit like caviar,
Marking English in its haloing,
A soapy garnish for decoration.
And therefore my mouth is like molasses,
Thick and unrefined, giving English its sweetness.

Amara is a Black British Jamaican poet and writer born and raised in Birmingham, UK. Her work explores social constructs/politics and their effect on identity. A Perspectives Editor at LAPP, her writing often features gender and world issues she encounters through the brand.