In the Slips. a poem by Pratibha Castle

Pratibha Castle

In the Slips
While the world watches 
Violetta, clad in years
the measure of a week,
journeys from Odessa 
with her doll and cat 
and a Grandma 
her face a crumpled map 
of lifetime drills 
framed by a scarf 
the color of losing
urges a boy soldier 
put this flower in your pocket
hopes his flesh 
rotted into trampled mud
bone and blood
transmuted to 
a claggy womb 
will birth a crop 
of smiling sunflowers
and men in black 
as if spectators 
at a cricket match 
watch a tank 
grizzle over cobblestones
across the city square 
while a man
sprints into its path  
scoops up a hand- grenade 
underarms it 
at a pile of rubble
the dog-end 
dangling from his lip 
a red-eyed fuse

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Pratibha Castle’s award-winning debut pamphlet A Triptych of Birds and A Few Loose Feathers (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published February 2022. Her work appears in Agenda, HU, Blue Nib, IS&T, London Grip, OHC, Friday Poem, High Window, Lime Square Poets, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, WordCity Literary Journal and Dreich, amongst others. Highly commended and long-listed in a number of competitions, including The Bridport Prize and Welsh Poetry Competition, Sentinel Literary Journal, Brian Dempsey Memorial Award, Binsted Arts and Storytown. A regular reader for The Poetry Place, West Wilts Radio, she is featured on Home Stage: Meet the Poet.


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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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