The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Another Way to Split Water by Alycia Pirmohamed

This selection, chosen by guest editor Alyse Bensel, is from Another Way to Split Water by Alycia Pirmohamed, released by YesYes Books in 2022.


Tonight I am all joint and animal dark. My heel blots out the moon, 
	vanishes the small nod of light. And yes,
I prayed today, verging into my bismillah before settling 
		on the broken.

I stoop into my longings, plot a seed in every corner. Last week 
	I titled another page with my body 
		and surrendered every bending, splitting line of myself
to the making.

When we refer to plants, we call this positive phototropism, 
		a body rivering toward the light.
I want to river toward the light. I want to lean my neck toward 
	a thing until I, too, become ism,

scientific and named into truth. 
	Today, I walked through a dream that wasn’t mine, and I 
		thought of you waiting at the end of it,
as if to gather me

and maybe that’s just the kind of woman I am—no matter 
	how many times I halve the moon or find myself in a room
without a window, I know Allah 
		sees everything, every hand planting something new,
every metaphor for the tree it becomes. And yes, 
	I prayed today, but planting my palms together has never 
		felt like blossoming up the side of a mountain.
The only time these hands have ever flowered,

have ever been used for something good, 
		was that spring at Yamnuska, where we found a clear
blue door of glacial water, and I walked right through 
	your reflection.

Alycia Pirmohamed is a Canadian-born poet based in Scotland. Her debut collection Another Way to Split Water was released internationally in 2022 by YesYes Books in the United States and Polygon Books in the UK. She is also the author of the pamphlets Hinge and Faces that Fled the Wind and the collaborative essay Second Memory, which was co-authored with Pratyusha. She is the co-founder of the Scottish BPOC Writers Network, a co-organiser of the Ledbury Poetry Critics Program, and she currently teaches on the MSt. Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge. She is the recipient of several awards, including the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize, the 92Y Discovery Prize, the Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Award, and the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award.

Alyse Bensel is the author of Rare Wondrous Things: A Poetic Biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (Green Writers Press, 2020) and three chapbooks. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly ReviewCream City ReviewSouth Dakota Review, and West Branch. She serves as Poetry Editor for Cherry Tree and teaches at Brevard College, where she directs the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference. 

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