Poetry by Salimah Valiani
By Salimah Valiani
Cultured Pallets
Image Credit: Soheila Esfahani – Cultured Pallets.

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quarantined at first port of entry
in sunny sardine Airbnb
your 7 year old turns the glass box shower into
fills out a form screening your symptoms
and submits it to the Police

you know then that

the many more thinking out loud
through strangers

the stories of THC CBC
legalised pot galore

the squirrel sprawled dead on its back
on the roof outside your bright window

the contradictions of living long and well
but alienated alongside 41 non-indigenous boiling water advisories

are not wacky or absurd

but the very real result of care crisis upon care crisis

in a land bearing plump cherries and tomatoes in winter

and free tests/vaccines for all


soccer turns juggling turns skipping and kissing turns
lava and water tag

let go/follow the child/school the child/feed a growth spurt/clean/keep up with paid work/
make calls home and home and to loved ones here/dance Sesame Street/

14 days quarantine between homes    even with a wide screen
than 97 days strict lockdown at home

1 pot 1 pan
teaspoon acquired en route in Istanbul
cinnamon remittance by a friend
sink plugged from unicorn bath
erratic heating
head-breaking boots
jet lag haze
constant robot and smokey glass reminders to


gated backyard ‘not part of the listing but OK’
a prophetess delivering

fresh air   space    insight

organised clutter of the squat next door

pine branch dipped in sangria buds sticky
like glassed blood

6 unit Airbnb seemingly spawning new residents
daily exiting entering   few masked

sounding out the ease of controlling those crossing borders

trumpeting Alberto and Che's 1952 defiance

swimming across to join the lepers

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Salimah Valiani is a poet, activist, and researcher.
Rungh Redux Winner 2022 Award of Merit Innovative Practice
Rungh Redux Winner 2022 Award of Merit Innovative Practice
Britannia Art Gallery
Britannia Art Gallery
Bookhug Press
Bookhug Press
Plantation Memories
Plantation Memories
Alternator Centre