Day Seven, 2023 ROAR Showcase: Rose Bower by Kim Whysall-Hammond

Rose Bower

for Gita, wherever you are

Enchantment beckoned at the end of your garden
many climbing roses intertwined into a
a concealing bower where

we spied on hidden lovers
hunted magic deer that leapt
skywards and away from
our orbital arrows that encircled the world

we swapped shoes and dresses
each handmade by our mothers
each smelling so different
you said all my people smelled of milk
I thought all yours were spice scented
and beautiful

we kissed each other’s palms
held our breath as pirate raiders crept by
evaded an amorous Sultan
sucked the tart sweetness of pomegranates
taken from your mother’s kitchen

we found brambles amid the blooms
you did not know blackberries at all
then loved them more than pomegranate
because they grew in our magic place
you mother thought they were dirty
like me

we thought this would go on forever
that we would grow up together
then, you were suddenly gone
moved away to where
a school would accept a Ugandan Asian girl


Kim Whysall-Hammond grew up in London in a working-class family, but now lives deep in the English countryside. She obtained a degree in Astronomy from UCL and has worked in both Climate Research and Telecommunications. A late comer to publishing poems, her poetry has appeared in American Diversity Report, Alchemy Spoon, Amsterdam Quarterly, London Grip, North of Oxford, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Marble Poetry, Crannóg and others. Her speculative poetry has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways, Eternal Haunted Summer, Frozen Wavelets, Kaleidotrope, On Spec, Silver Blade and Star*line. She also has poems in anthologies from Palewell Press, Wild Pressed Books, Milk and Cake Press, Experiments in Fiction and Brigids Gate Press. Find more of her work at https://thecheesesellerswife.wordpress.com/

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