You carry this one back in a Waitrose bag,
her mother’s rosary pressed against
her warrant for arrest, head south
to the archive vault like crossing
the Styx. Each twist
———of the Northern Line
jostles a love letter closer
to her father. His stern moustache,
unwilling, tickles the words –Eve, I shall
rig up a mosquito net for you under the stars –
This is what keeps you awake: the dead
who all day long press upon you
wordy concerns, sepia stares begging
to be read. You smooth an obituary,
shelve two diaries
——–close as palms in prayer. Ladies,
necks achy in over-ornamented hats, you slide
between acid-free sheets. Tonight
you will turn and turn again, and think:
it is her dust that I breathed in.
Anna Kisby is an archivist and mother of three, living in Brighton. After growing up in London she studied Literature and Film at the universities of East Anglia, Sussex and the Sorbonne, taught English in Prague and sold cowboy boots in Massachusetts.
Her poetry has appeared in anthologies and magazines including Magma, Mslexia and The Moth and been placed in competitions. Recently she won The New Writer single poem prize and was a finalist in Live Canon 2012.
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4 thoughts on “Anna Kisby: Featured Poet”
Every word in “Archives” is so carefully placed. I love that second verse where the father finds himself next to the love letter. The whole poem is pure magic.Memorable. And lasting. And on-going. Emotions are both preserved and continued – from the dead to and through the living. Thanks, Anna.
This poem really brings history alive through the intimacy of the archivist with the subject – “sepia stares begging to be read”. I love the contrast with past and present – the “stern moustache” the “mosquito net”, the “over-ornamented hats” as against the Waitrose bag and the Northern Line. I love the way Anna skilfully connects the past and the present through the dust, treating both with tenderness and respect. A great read – thank you.