2018 Poetry Competition Runner-up: “African Night” by Isabella Mead


Pylons have yet to stalk the village.
Electricity is a wisp of a word and night
embroiders the wayside undisturbed.

As the sun diminishes, details disappear.
Only the sky reveals its complexities,
its deepening perspectives, signalled by stars.

The hills lose their outlines and close into one.
The roads become even under levelling shadows.
The tea-fields tighten. We hold hands home.

Crowded banana trees cross-hatch the sky.
The branches fan outwards, balancing shafts
of feathered leaves. Stars filter through.
They are erased by the wind or a fingertip.

Through bunched silhouettes, individual trees
are indistinct, as if to prove
how intimate the world can be
even as the sky expands. 

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