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30 May 2024

Exclusive Poem: Bastimentos by Amara Amaryah

Wasafiri is pleased to share this poem by Amara Amaryah, whose work was published in our spring issue Wasafiri 117: The State of the Industry. The hurtling sentences build up a kaleidoscope of images about the places we ‘strand ourselves’ in and make our own.


 

Bastimentos

This island swept with a similar hand as ours is
home to Rastaman and jackfruit tree and zinc rooftops and lined by boats How was I to know you were here too Where it is dense, the kind of wild that uncolonised itself where the breeze is plentiful and the tongues familiar and the creole, your one, sits thick in the throat and then leaves with a lull, a sweet guary guary Your skin is rich your gap is wide The ground loves you like ours does us It gave favour to us newest guests and plenty healing just like any mystic For mosquito bites, marigold For stomach runs, papaya For every fried fish, a banana of some sort And then there is how we live How we must marnin miss even with strangers How we fish in the same waters we ease carefully into A sound system sinks with the power cut and carries its silence across the water and we laugh our howling laugh into the dark Bandanas and phone lights the only path through the black of this archipelago It is so obvious how we can, none of us, be silent, and how we strand ourselves and plant our lives as though we chose here

 


To read more of Amara’s poems in Wasafiri 117: The State of the Industry, purchase a print copy of the issue, or subscribe to the magazine.


Amara Amaryah is a Jamaican poet and essayist, born in London. Her writings are interested in voice – often voicelessness – and reclamations of identity through definitions of home. Her work has been received, translated and read internationally. The Opposite of an Exodus is her debut pamphlet (Bad Betty Press, 2021).   

Featured image by Flickr via canva.com.

Spring 2024
Wasafiri 117: The State of the Industry

We start our 40th anniversary year with Wasafiri 117, which has a special focus on ‘The State of the Industry’. Our spring 2024 issue reflects on the contemporary international literary industry through a variety of perspectives, from publishing to academia, via the work of writing, translating, editing, publishing, and teaching.

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