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.


She did not know the shape of
this country—		wide 		darkjagged 

bend in the river, rock elm withering,
everything withering 

into unfamiliar, needled forest.
She was searching for the water and the water

was a heartache tongued by wild deer.

In northern Alberta, she was a line of crow
edging into the unknown,

a woman caught between fennels of a dream
and long mouths of birch.

Even the key of her body— 
		jaggedlong 		gentledark— 

could not unlock this landscape. 

Sometimes there is a fog thick enough
to hide the trees

and she imagines this country unwithers,
becomes a different land,

where her body is shaped like the river
and the river 

				is shaped like belonging.

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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