Poems to share

Thirteen

You will be four minutes from home

when you are cornered by an officer

who will tell you of a robbery, forty

minutes ago in the area. You fit

the description of a man? – You’ll laugh.

Thirteen, you’ll tell him: you’re thirteen.

 

You’ll be patted on the shoulder, then, by another fed

whose face takes you back to Gloucester Primary School,

a Wednesday assembly about being little stars.

This same officer had an horizon in the east

of his smile when he told your class that

you were all supernovas,

the biggest and brightest stars.

 

You will show the warmth of your teeth

praying he remembers the heat of your supernova;

he will see you powerless – plump.

You will watch the two men cast lots for your organs.

 

Don’t you remember me? you will ask.

You gave a talk at my primary school.

While fear condenses on your lips,

you will remember that Wednesday, after the assembly,

your teacher speaking more about supernovas:

how they are, in fact, dying stars

on the verge of becoming black holes.

Caleb Femi

Raised on the North Peckham estate in South London, Caleb Femi is a poet and director. He has written and directed short films for the BBC and Channel 4, and poems for Tate Modern, the Royal Society for Literature, St Paul's Cathedral, the BBC, the Guardian and more. He has been featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next generation shaping youth culture. From 2016 to 2018, he served as the Young People's Laureate for London. He recently wrote the liner material for Kano's 2019 album Hoodies All Summer. Poor is his first book.