Poems by April Roach

Image Courtesy of Rachel Doherty. Shared via a Creative Commons license.


Mangrove Armour

I am my own forest home
a sanctuary that claims and fractures the sea
the dwelling that creeks and sways in the night.

It is difficult to be honest
and yet I do so in the face of the wind
bearing my roots to the rainforest sky.

Above: my roof
serenades the sun with the ferocity of a nightingale
begging for growth.

Below: the dreamers’ hell,
a tangle of beginnings unspooling
into the depths of swamp.

No one sees my tears
wafting through the branch clusters
weeping airy patterns into the jungle silence.

You break the night
trailing orange streaks behind.
The weight of a child is something new, disturbing.

It is the remembering after,
beautiful searing pain
like the blowing of a soft breeze over scorched land.

I bend the fragments of time
fixing splintered moments
that saw the birth of my despair.

I capture you in frames of the night
and release your seeds to surrounding dark waters,
I need no other.

I am the plant
that defies land and water.
Plated arms destined to love
and let go.




Dear Piper Man

Dear Piper Man,
I’m not angry when I write you
though my fingers are bleeding
and my wrists chafing from their tight bind.
Still, only sweet solemn whispers
float from my lips.
Bend closer to hear what I have to say.

I leave you with my silent rant
emitting sounds stranger than speech
from an alien source
find it somewhere among
the roots, kept razor sharp
for the tunes that will dull
their worldly edge.

Send me no more tall orders
no twittering heels and concealing powder
no more ‘well done’ and ‘good try’
we march better without
such empty taunts.

I am no longer the distraction while you act
the soaked bikini-clad explosion from the pool
or the exotic prize on your arm
there’s more than pretty power in the sway of my hips.

We are only biding some historic time
behind the piper of chained thought
he doesn’t know we advance,
seeing only children of dust over his shoulder

Watch him brush invisible crumbs away

while we edge closer
to the edge
in strength, I can assure you
this is not the end.


Museum Moments

Caught between acrylic and wall, I surrender to the moment.

This one artist was obsessed with hair,
she took magnetic photographs that engaged and repelled.
I thought mostly of the models; swaddled in auburn and dark locks.

Somewhere in DuPont I caught my reflection in a Dumas piece,
framed and silhouetted by the work of art, I was sharply singled
out in the viewing, made part of a collection of still figures.

This is what loneliness feels like, a sharp splintering silence.


April Roach has previously been published in Cobalt Magazine and is currently residing in Paris. She studies English literature and Creative Writing at Warwick University in England. She was born in London and later moved to Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Her grand-parents are of Jamaican origin.