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Best of Irish Poetry 2010
Editor: Matthew Sweeney
Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition
Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes
Munster Literature Centre
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LAUREN K. ALLEYNE
Lauren K. Alleyne is a native of Trinidad and Tobago. Her work has been awarded prizes such as the 2003 Atlantic Monthly Student Poetry Prize, the Robert Chasen Graduate Poetry Prize at Cornell, an International Publication Prize from The Atlanta Review, and honorable mention in the 2009 Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize and the 2003 Gival Press Tri-Language Poetry Contest. She has been published in journals such as Black Arts Quarterly, The Caribbean Writer, The Belleview Literary Review, and Crab Orchard Review among others, as well as in the anthologies Growing Up Girl and Gathering Ground. She is co-editor of From the Heart of Brooklyn, and her chapbook, Dawn In The Kaatskills, was published in April 2008 by Longshore Press.
Photo © Rachel Eliza Griffiths
How it Touches Us
For Anjane Maharaj
Our teacher trembled at the board as she unravelled
the snarl of events: exhaustion, a nap, the sickening
realization. Our friend was in a coma. We’d gawked
at lunchtime around Anjane’s desk, shuddered at her
calm as she loaded up the insulin, flicked the needle
and slipped it beneath her skin, its live blue tracks.
I remember thinking I couldn’t bear to live like that
but day after day when her chair remained empty,
I prayed she would come back to her body. Once,
we’d worked together on a project, about the universe
and its parts—planets, stars, atmosphere, black holes.
I couldn’t remember which of us had kept it afterward.
The whole class went to the funeral, young and somber
in our crisp collars and dark overalls. We shuffled past
the coffin; she lay white-faced and red-lipped as a doll.
The pyre waited at the river, its rough frame wreathed
like a wedding car with marigolds and loud red hibiscus.
Our teacher said we didn’t have to, but we followed her
into the crowd gathered on the bank. The fire flung sparks
like little stars. When the pundit lit the torch to the wood
her mother’s wails rose, first a tired thread, then heavier,
in thick, tangled knots of grief. When her body moved
I was unafraid; I thought we would witness a miracle,
that she’d get up and walk through those flames grinning.
But the motion was mechanical – her muscles stirring
as the tendons and ligaments contracted – a reaction to
the heat. That was all. No act of God. No resurrection.
Instead, the bang: her skull shattering, no longer able
to contain her brain as it expanded; the awful realization
that all laws of matter must hold true, that she was gone.
©2010 Lauren K. Alleyne
Three poems by Alleyne in The 2River Review
Three poems by Alleyne in Torch
'A Grab Won't Cure My Feminism': essay by Alleyne in Women's Studies Quarterly