Alycia Pirmohamed – Hinge (ignitionpress)



Judges’ Comments

Alycia Pirmohamed impressed the judges with her ability to chart an emotional landscape of identity, stretched between the geographical poles of Canadian Alberta and Indian Kutch. Gaps and rifts of this terrain, as well as its bridges and crossings, are mapped with geometrical precision. Yet these lines are created to embrace what is blurry, tentative, elliptical; tenderness hovers over the view as a fog. The disorientation serves as a stepping-stone into another dimension: the poetry soars off the map and finds its metaphysical belonging in the vision of Allah, on the connection to whom Hinge hinges.


How to Say Dark


There is a young girl at the riverbank,

knees and hair wet.


Her body unhinges like a black bear’s mouth.

The salmon blink through


her every Ya Allah. There is no right answer

for how to feel peace.


She drifts in the water, a blur of girlhood

split too many times,


the ligament between korosho trees

and lodgepole pine. To a young daughter


in a teeming body of water, it is a shame

that nothing below the meniscus


has a name but her—

so she calls one fish plum for its bruised


brown colour. She names the wet ferns

ripple as they scatter around her thighs.


Even the water in evening churns differently

from daylight green.


It darkens, and she knows better than most

how to say dark.



The 2020 Shortlists

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