The National Poetry Review

Christos Kalli


Hairy serendipity  Divine bridge
my grandmother crossed
on her way    to war
I come to you unwaxed
and free    I come to leave you
with what has been left to me
Bedazzled forehead    Feathered eyes
thick with the screams
of spear-holding    wolf-women
of the sea      I come to you blessed
with the weight    of heritage
Cursed with hair follicles
of a past     that can’t be plucked
History grows    on my skin
like a new name    Summer of 1974
a blade       I keep sharpening
on my tongue    Now when I speak
I speak about  what has been broken
like a leavened bread   in church
Now I keep    her black hair
once tangled in flames    on my face
On my nightstand   a photo of her village
laying flat   I want to connect
split islands   on my path
I want to nation     To split
tweezers   in half

CHRISTOS KALLI, born in Cyprus, is currently studying American Literature at the University of Cambridge. His poetry has been translated into French, shortlisted for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize (2017), named a finalist for The Ellis Award (2018), and nominated for Best New Poets (2018). His chapbook INT. NIGHT was a finalist for the Sutra Press Chapbook Contest (2017). His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from the American Journal of Poetry, The Adroit Journal, the Los Angeles Review, the minnesota review, PANK, The Hollins Critic, Harpur Palate, and Dunes Review, among others. He is a Poetry Reader at/for The Adroit Journal. Visit him at

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