Krystelle Bamford

Most recently, Krystelle Bamford’s poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review and various anthologies. In 2010, she was awarded a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and was shortlisted for the 2011 Bridport Prize. Though raised in the US, she has been living in Edinburgh for the past nine years and completed an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews in 2012.


To My Man (Who Prefers Solitude)


If I saw you on a beer hall bench,
a short, gold stein, an apple,
cheese, unleavened bread
the midday feast, sawdust
on your dark, woolled chest
your morning sparrows,
seasoned wood, your tools
like little warm grotesques
you name each night
and put to bed
(you as you
were meant to be)
I’d love you more
for want of me.




She wrote these months were golden
save a syndrome early on,
and I thought about the other
vanishing twins I’ve known,

and whether they still speak
the argot of that room,
and whether one resents the sun
if the other’s claimed the moon,

and does the left one pause
to think about the right
of drafting wedding vows
by a light his brother’s lit?

And when the first one flattens
into nothing more than words,
do they braid in counterpoint
then resolve to one bright chord?

She sent along a photo,
hands clasping the soft swell;
I wavered a split second

then replied glad all is well.




In the cold, there are animals
and trees to be felled.
There are axe heads and paraffin
and the long way round. Bear
north at the Dipper, full
with the black stew of home.

My home was a seal skin.
It wore a jacket of snow.
In spring, we grew gardens
of soot. In winter, we wore
a match at our neck and the frost
shied like a dog. In the cold,

there are ice floes and star clocks
ticking away. There are animals
and trees to call home. But where
will you be when the kettle
boils over, the fire shifts
its black bones, where

have you left us, you who set off
snowblind, half-dead,
so very long ago?

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