Issue 2: Vahni Capildeo

Pull Out All the Stops

for Elizabeth Irwin

“Dear —,

I love you so much   I had to

write it somewhere    so

I am writing it

on the back of a receipt for apple strudel

in the British Museum café.


That feels better already).

Can you imagine

what you’d do to me in bed?

You could make me   pay for

all the slights   the irritating

enigmas   the deliberate

inattention.   I hope so.

Make me pay   and pay again.

Like Dante

in that stony rhyming of his

desire to pin Beatrice down

twisting his fingers into her rope of hair

as she cries out through

all the hours   rung by

monks’ bells   all through the long

medieval Tuscan day.


he never did).

You can’t think   I’m up to constructing

another   heaven?

I can’t think   either.

This process of revision

final and   first touches!

I wrote this with my own hand:

Never let me go again   my love.”

About the Brightness of Things

I came prepared to be a shadow:


What d’you think you’re up to? Tendering

your hand, which obviously is a

glove? – lady into falcon?

I’m for it –  lo, stooping to the lure –

Vahni Capildeo (b. Trinidad, 1973) currently holds a Teaching Fellowship in Creative Writing at the University of Leeds. She works freelance for the Oxford English Dictionary and The Caribbean Review of Books. Her books include No Traveller Returns (Salt, 2003), Person Animal Figure (Landfill, 2005) and Dark and Unaccustomed Words (Eggbox, forthcoming 2009)

Copyright © 2009 by Vahni Caplideo, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.