Tuesday Poem Special by Peter Akinlabi

by Dami Ajayi

The Arcades

(For Liz, whose botanical name I now forget)


She’s petite and had a braid.

I am Pete, I said.

We walked through the arcades;

the trees swayed. And silence,

hand-in-hand with intentions, walked ahead.


The harmattan wove its webs and sutures,

cold, like that, is kind to young loves.

Birds sang on the trees, dropping hints

into silence. I sought something to lay

the freeze bare for clarity


Sidestepping love’s essential gothicism,

I tossed the coin:

I confess, like a true poet, that I am

only broken

by the sources of things.

Throbbing. Hands. we looked in each other’s lattices.

All sextoned, she rent the gag,

wiping incredulity with a Shakespearean rag.


And Parting time like a bar-room curtain

we recreated a mythology of the garden.


We floated through the arcades, acrobats-on -stilts

looking for botanic roots of things,

bodies, luminous and riverine,

parsing things lustrous and serpentine,

we coursed towards the source of moist.



Peter Akinlabi’s poetry collection, Iconography, is out now.