Graham was born in Canterbury and now lives in Dawlish, Devon. He has lived in a host of places in between, including seven locations overseas – Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Tenerife, Mexico, France (Paris), Chile and the United States (Houston, Texas). He has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. His collection Vermeer’s Corner was published by Foothills Publishing in the United States in 2008. Pindrop Press will publish his second collection The Chongololo Club in July 2012. He has won, been placed, commended or short-listed in many poetry competitions, including Chapter One Promotions, Poetry on the Lake, the Templar Prize, the Plough Prize and the Lorca in England International Translation Competition. His poetry has appeared in many print and online literary magazines in the U.K, U.S and other parts of the world. He frequently gives readings and runs poetry workshops in the West Country and beyond.
STILL WAITING Christmas came to Chililabombwe, a misdirected card; Scrooge and frost delivered to the wrong continent. In the fan-cooled haven of the school reception, a bosomy secretary spooned dirt into her mouth; A red paste pile, excretions from a termite mound. African caviar posed in a napkin. Close by a mother seemed uneasy. She slid one glossy shin over the other like a deaf cricket. She was lost for good words. Whatever she said it would sound stupid, she knew, but she would say it anyway. “It was that saint man what was he called Saint Claws? Santo Claws? You know – he’s the one that goes down the chimneys.” Chimneys? Every year, white bearded and hot he would visit the school, waving, his costume the same flame tree red as the fire engine, from which he hung in the sun of blue heat, banana, jacaranda and rattling black seedpods. But on that Christmas night, he goes to the other kids - always to the other kids. For each of my boy’s eight years we waited, listened for the Santo Claws bells into the late night, but heard only crickets and croaking frogs.” SHROUD Soon after her final breath I left the house, let it settle from the shock, untouched. Small hatchet fish in their aquarium continued to journey back and forth near the water’s surface, each of them outliving her while crumbs staled and cats went unfed. Curtains held back the light. When I returned, the impression had stayed in the bed sheet; the weight of pregnant torso had pressed deep, a hip-given whirlpool, an indentation of head, where seen-it-all-before ambulance men had laid her, after lifting, rigor mortis stiff from foetal curl on the carpet. The air seemed colder. Winter would come and I might still see the curves of her, sculpted in linen; a searing memory of death with its pink dome of unborn child swelled high. The bed had become a shrine, the sheet my Shroud of Turin that I would not wash like a celebrity kiss on the cheek.
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