A poem from last year’s winner, Bhanu Kapil – an extract from How to Wash a Heart, published by Pavilion Poetry

from How to Wash a Heart

Like this?
It’s inky-early outside and I’m wearing my knitted scarf, like
John Betjeman, poet of the British past.
I like to go outside straight away and stand in the brisk air.
Yesterday, you vanished into those snowflakes like the ragged beast
You are.
Perhaps I can write here again.
A “fleeting sense of possibility.” – K.
Keywords: Hospitality, stars, jasmine,
you made a space for me in your home, for my books and clothes,
and I’ll
Never forget that.
When your adopted daughter, an “Asian refugee”
As you described her,
Came in with her coffee and perched on the end
Of my cot, I felt so happy.
And less like a hoax.
Showed her how to drink water
From the bowls
On the windowsill.