This selection, chosen by guest editor Alyse Bensel, is from Another Way to Split Water by Alycia Pirmohamed, released by YesYes Books in 2022.
Another Way to Split Water
once, in childhood, a girl walked into her house of prayer and became fog. the stories the great-greats pass down are always about transformation: seed to pulp, saltwater to pearl. somewhere, the deer are bounding into the snow, unaware of each firing neuron, unaware of the river basin’s rich soil. what was the threshold of her muscle? how many fires were lit before she leveed into ghost? in early january, they cross the grove in groups of three, wet and for a moment, gliding. when the deer land, something about the earth has changed. she crossed like any other animal would. perhaps, too, licked at the frozen river, kissed her reflection. it is unknown where she landed. once, in childhood, her mother crossed water and split into so many particles that at last, she became a discord of countless things: part mule deer, part alluvial, part clear knowledge in the frozen wild.
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 Review, Cream City Review, South 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.