Anastasia Prempeh

Anastasia Prempeh is a member of Podium Poets 2 and was long listed to be Young Poet Laureate for London 2014. She enjoys both written and performance poetry and performs regularly at live poetry nights and events. Her work has been selected for publication by North Highland Publishing and Zamantungwa.

"I am so grateful to have been awarded first prize. The judges' comments are greatly appreciated and I'm honoured that they enjoyed my work. To be judged alongside so many beautifully written poems, that I would consider to be of a very high standard, is humbling. I'd like to congratulate the other winners, both longlisted and shortlisted too."

Those Words

Those words had never found meaning in her hollow abyss
Until he breathed life into them
And she not only let him in
She gorged herself on him
She was binge drinking him
Until the point where she was so full of him
He was plugging all her orifices
So when she opened her mouth
All that came out was him
When the warnings came and the worry fell on deaf ears
It was because all she heard was him
The putrid stench of guilt and deceit
Never made it past her nostrils
Because that sweet smell of him still lingered in her sinuses
She felt his words wrap her in a cocoon of warmth and she didn't want to be disturbed
She wanted to be lulled to sleep by the rise and fall of his tone
The crest and trough of his tenor
The way he pronounced each word made her feel like she'd never heard them before
Like he was inventing a language just for her
And she hadn't realised it until then
But she'd been looking for a hero
And little did he know
That her mind's eye had chosen him to be the one
To fill in, colour within the lines of that sketch drawing that was her
All outlines and empty space

His words had never known home on his tongue
But claimed sanctuary when they found the borders of her
A pilgrimage of intense and depth
Without the pretence of expectations
In this undiscovered land they grew
Roots and were renewed
She showed him mundane things through a crystal lens
And he noticed
How the click clack of her heels on the tarmac
Was in perfect synchrony with the beat of his heart
The rhythm of life; her
Mecca in his mind; her
Awakening of his soul; her
Introduction to life; her
Midas touch on misery; her
Her pain
When his words finally betrayed him
As he tried to explain
How the borders of his horizon were no longer confined to the contours of her face
And how he no longer saw the ocean in her eyes
Or the great expanse of the Sahara in her smile
Or that he'd wanted to stay but knew he was Columbus at heart
And somewhere out there underneath the stars
someone new was waiting to be found.

In the silence that followed
Even as they held their gaze
A gaping distance opened up between them
And on different sides of rocky terrain it grew and spread
Like a disease
So quick and ugly and unexpected and uncontrollable
that before long there was a canyon between them

They no longer speak of those words
But with memory less bitter than sweet
Roll the syllables around on the tongues of their minds
And from time to time they feel it
The synchrony of they
The rhythm embedded in them
And know that at that moment
They are doing the exact same thing
It washes over them like a flash flood
An unexpected thunderstorm on a midsummer's day
And is gone just as quickly
But the rainbow remains
And if only for a moment
They smile and reminisce on their memories of home

© Anastasia Prempeh, 2014

Published in ‘The Great British Write Off - Beyond Words’